The catalogue for In Ruskin's Footsteps - the England and Wales contribution to the Botanical Art Worldwide initiative is considerably smaller than the last BAW book I reviewed (see Book Review: 'Éireannach - Celebrating Native Plants of Ireland').
That said, it is also packed full of content.
Its creation was organised by the Association of British Botanical Artists (ABBA) and supported by the Dawn Joliffe Botanical Art Bursary awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society.
The catalogue format is an A5 sized paperback with a glossy and very colourful cover.
Within that cover there are 64 pages which comprise:
Committee and Judges
In my desire for bigger images, I did try working out whether this might have been possible. It occurred to me that maybe a landscape format in A5 might have worked better in terms of enlarging images and constraining the number of words allowed,
Very sensibly ABBA has decided to sell the catalogue around the world. I know a lot of botanical artists and organisations involved with the Botanical Worldwide initiative are very keen to see what other people have produced - and it's great to see an organisation that is making this possible. I suspect the size of the catalogue was determined in part by the need to make postage easier and I commend ABBA for doing this.
It's very nice to have large books but they can cost a lot to send as well as produce. In this case keeping the publication compact makes the price more reasonable. I particularly liked the fact that the price includes all postage and packing so you know straight away when looking at prices what buying a copy is going to cost you. In terms of pricing, I suggest you click the links as the catalogue has three different prices depending on whether you are located in the UK, Europe or the rest of the world. There's also a discount for buying more than one copy.
In summary, the catalogue is a little slow in 'arriving' in terms of its content. In essence the catalogue content is the wrong way round.
For the visitor who knows nothing about the background to the exhibition, what they need from this particular exhibition catalogue is a very brief introduction about 'Botanical Art Worldwide', the reason for the focus on native and indigenous plants - with an explanation of what these are - and a brief explanation about the exhibition title. Followed by the explanation about the artwork, plants and artists up front. The rest is interesting - but is not what the exhibition is primarily about.
Naturally for a one-off exhibition like this, I recognise that it's important to create a record of the 'workings' i.e. how it came about, who was involved and who did what in terms of both people and organisations. However this is a historical record and in my opinion, the explanations about the Committee and Judges and the organisations that were involved and supported could have come at the end and not lost any value as a record - while very much enhancing the exhibition experience via the catalogue for visitors - and for those buying the catalogue even if they have not seen the exhibition.
Special event 9th June 2018
There is to be a second special event at the Peter Scott Gallery on the 9th June. No booking is required and all events are free entry. The events are:
Book reviews of other exhibition catalogues
The Irish Society of Botanical Artists organised the Irish exhibition Botanical Art Worldwide – Éireannach - Celebrating Native Plants of Ireland. This was held at the National Botanic Gardens, 9 Glasnevin Hill in Dublin between 6-27 May 2018.
However the exhibition lives on in its catalogue and for all of us who were unable to get to the exhibition, this is a wonderful document to have for all sorts of reasons.
This is a review of that book Éireannach – Celebrating Native Plants of Ireland in which I endeavour the count the ways in which it is VERY IMPRESSIVE!
I don't often rave about a book - but this is one of those occasions!
No small achievement
What I've tried to do is:
As a guide I've also included the average ratings out of 5 stars for each book (in the UK and USA). Plus a guide to how to interpret these ratings as they are various factors - detailed in my guide - that influence how many ratings a book has got to date.
Book Review: Botanical Illustration
Author: Valerie Oxley
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - This is an excellent manual for those who like their botanical art to lean towards illustration with a strong botanical slant.
This book differentiates itself by focusing on botany. It's very detailed and practical and consequently very helpful.
It provides lots of detailed facts, useful information, tips and techniques - doubtless derived from the author's many years of teaching botanical illustration and developing a diploma course.
For example, it includes
It's a sub-page of The Best Botanical Art Instruction Books in the Education Section.
Botany for the Artist: An Inspirational Guide to Drawing Plants
Author: Sarah Simblet
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - This is the best rated book on the market for those who want to understand more about
The quality of the text and illustrations is first class and the whole book provides a fresh perspective on botany for the artist while losing none of the fundamental and enduring truths of what is required of botanical illustration.
The emphasis of this book is on:
It's a sub-page of The Best Botany Books for Botanical Artists and Illustrators in the Botany section.
The standard of the plant portraits is so high and the text so illuminating that this will make a memorable book and exhibition. I do hope that it will also be exhibited in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 2018
Dr. Shirley Sherwood Patron of the Florilegium Society
The plants are painted life-size, unless noted otherwise on the painting, and most are reproduced at about half painted size. Some show the plant in its entirety, some the flower and fruiting bodies, in others, the focus is that most recognisable and showiest of all structures, the flower, further playing out its biological role in attracting attention.
Beverley Allen - President of the Florilegium Society
The botanical art displayed in this book is definitely at the high end of the spectrum; these are works of incredible accuracy and of undeniable beauty that fully respect the plants they portray,
Dr Brett Summerell (Preface) - Director of the RBGS
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