Back in 2020, one of the significant botanical exhibitions of the year was that of "Botanic Endeavour" - in Sydney. This was the second exhibition - in association with the publication of a new book (see below) - by the Florilegium Society of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (RBGS).
This, of course was the year, when public spaces were being locked down and then reopening and then locking down again. At the same time that people were being careful about where they travelled and how and which public spaces they visited. It really wasn't a great year for art exhibitions.
My recollection is that the planned exhibition was cancelled. Then in November 2020, a webinar was held to talk about the second project, the book and the paintings
It's really pleasing therefore to hear that there's going to be another chance to see Botanic Endeavour: The Florilegium Society celebrates the Banks and Solander Collections. This announcement feels like it provides another opportunity for all those who were playing it safe, not travelling and not going to exhibitions in 2020 - or 2021.
The Society will present an exhibition of 50 recent botanical paintings linking the historic Banks’ and Solander specimens held in the National Herbarium of NSW with the Living Collection of the three Gardens. This project was created to mark the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage in the Endeavour in 2020.
Curated by Colleen Morris, the focus is on these historic specimens; drawing attention to the time and place of their collection, their history and inviting reflection on their significance to science, to the Indigenous peoples, to those collecting them and to the Gardens now.
Some of the newly digitised Banks’ and Solander collection images will be displayed along with more treasures from the Daniel Solander Library including some of the Banks’ Florilegium plates and his specimen cabinet.
Details of the exhibition are below:
The majority of the Banks and Solander specimens represented in the new works were collected at Botany Bay and the remainder from several locations in Queensland. Fresh plant material was sourced in many ways; with the co-operation of the botanic gardens in Cambridge, Oxford and Kew in the UK and a specialist nursery in California as well as from the three Gardens of the Trust in Australia. One artist sourced seeds from Western Australia and grew them in Cambridge; another painted from plants on the Amahlongwana River in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In Australia, some material was obtained from specialist nurseries and grown on at home; naturally, many grow in Sydney and the areas of collection in Queensland.
Botanic Endeavour - the book
Those visiting the exhibition will have a chance to buy the Botanic Endeavour book. Those living further afield, who would like a copy can find out more about it - and the first book - on my page about the Florilegium Societies.
Just scroll down until you get to Australasia and The Florilegium Society at The Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust.
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