The two new exhibitions at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art in Kew Gardens for the Spring and Summer opened on Saturday. This evening there is a Private View, which I'm attending.
The exhibitions are:
British Artists in the Shirley Sherwood Collection
This is one of the paintings in the exhibition. Many will recognise the image above as the one which features on the cover of Contemporary Botanical Artists - which was the very first book about the Shirley Sherwood Collection.
It's a painting of a blue water lily by Pandora Sellars who is a botanical artist much admired by Dr. Sherwood. Indeed the very first painting in her collection was by Pandora Sellars. She participated in many botanical art exhibitions and had a solo exhibition at Kew in 1990. She was also awarded the Jill Smythies Award for excellence in botanical illustration by the Linnean Society in 1992.
This particular painting exemplifies one of the main ways which Dr Sherwood supports botanical art. This painting is the result of a commission by Dr. Sherwood back in 1993, and was painted from specimens supplied by a tropical nursery and was completed in 1995. As is often the case with commissions, it's impossible to get the entire painting done in one season. In this case the blooms were done in one season and the leaves in the next. The design is particularly strong with the shape and form of the lily pads providing a backdrop for the flowers.
In the book it's referred to as Nymphea capensis although the title Kew has given me is Nymphaea nouchali var. caerulea. Apparently they're synonyms as Cape blue water lily, Nymphaea capensis is no longer regarded as a distinct species and has been sunk into the Nymphaea nouchali genus.
Another work by Pandora Sellars in the exhibition is Pontederia cordata.
Other artists in the exhibition
The Shirley Sherwood Collection currently includes 330 works by 86 British botanical painters. The range of artwork within the collection enables an exploration of the changing style and approach of botanical artists, through experimentation with medium and scale over the years.
Other artists in the exhibition include:
It was a delight to meet Christobel King and Gustavo Marigo at the recent Private View for the Brazil - a powerhouse of plants exhibition at Kew.
Gustavo is the current Margaret Mee Artist Scholar who started his studies at Kew Gardens in 2015. I was also present as Christobel introduced him to Álvaro Xavier Núñez who is one the best known of the contemporary Brazilian botanical artists
The Margaret Mee Artist Scholars
You can read about how the Fellowship Programme which was set up in her memory and how it came about:
Below is the list of names of all the Artist Scholars from Brazil to date who have been sponsored by the Margaret Mee Fellowship Programme.
It was fascinating to find out from Christobel that she spent three years learning the Portuguese language so she could be more effective in her teaching of the artist scholars from Brazil.
More recently , personal circumstances and the need for Christobel to have a break to write her book (see below) required a short break in the programme.
However the programme has now recommenced and the 2015 scholar is currently studying at Kew and a new one will be appointed for 2016.
You can also read more about what has happened to the various Margaret Mee Scholars from the past in my NEW Page about the botanical artists of South America.
The current exhibition also includes a gallery devoted to their work.
Christobel King and "The Kew Book of Botanical Illustration"
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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