Last night I attended the Private View of "Brazil - a Powerhouse of Plants" which is currently on display at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. The exhibition continues until 29 August 2016.
This exhibition focuses on plants of Brazil in general and botanical artwork made by Margaret Mee in particular. It also includes paintings by other artists - including the Margaret Mee Scholars - of which more tomorrow.
As usual, it comprises images from the Kew Collection and the Shirley Sherwood Collection.
The Director of Kew Gardens, Richard Deverell, emphasised the fact that Brazil is the most floralistically diverse country in the world. Some 46,000 species can be found growing in the country of which about half are endemic to Brazil and grow nowhere else. By way of comparison, the UK has about 2,000 species.
The Royal Botanic Gardens have had very strong connections with Brazil for quite a while. (The Kew website highlights the number of projects Kew is involved within tropical America)
He also highlighted now botanical illustrators of the past used to pursue their plants with 'steely determination' and how Margaret Mee used to pack a revolver along with her paints and brushes on her earliest trips into the Amazon Rain Forest.
He applauded the exhibition as presenting the chance to explore the range and diversity of Brazilian flora - without the need to pack a revolver!
Shirley Sherwood highlighted the fact that the exhibition includes both the very first painting in Brazil done by Margaret Mee - the Cannonball tree - and the very last - the Moonflower Cactus.
She described the contents of the different galleries and what the artists in each contributed to the overall exhibition.
There were lots of people from all over the world at the PV including:
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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