Jessica Tcherepnine GM was generally regarded as an outstanding botanical artist. She passed away, age 80, after a long illness on New Year's Eve.
'Her work is intense as well as being decorative and scientifically accurate"
Jessica Elizabeth Tcherepnine was English by birth but lived in the USA for 55 years.
She was born on 4th May 1938 in Sussex and was the daughter of William Barclay Harris and Elizabeth Milnes Coates. However she had lived and worked in New York for the last 50+ years. She met Peter Tcherepnine in New York and married him in 1973. They lived in their Manhattan apartment and their farm near Millbrook, NY, where she had her garden.
In terms of career, she started work at Christie's in London in the Furniture Department. She then moved to Christies in New York and worked with John Richardson. Latterly she worked mainly for its Oriental Department.
In 1982, she left Christies to start painting. In fact, she started painting flowers at her home in Sussex at a very young age. She was essentially self-taught, although her art education did include four months studying drawing in Florence under Signora Simi (1890-1987).
Her garden provided her with specimens for some of her watercolour paintings. Other paintings of exotic tropical plants were developed as a result of multiple visits to the island of Nevis in the West Indies.
Her artistic practice
Fortunately due to a couple of articles we have the artist's voice to speak as to her practice and approach to botanical art.
Trees, Tropical Plants & Theatre in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art (October 2018 - March 2019)
On Monday I went to see the four new botanical art exhibitions at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew Gardens. I'll be reviewing them all individually on this blog in future but today I thought I'd give you a taster of what can be seen - so you start planning a visit!
The four new exhibitions run from 6 October 2018 – 17 March 2019 and have a couple of over-arching themes
Orchids and tropical plants
Orchids and tropical plants are featured in the first two exhibitions
The tree theme is particularly relevant to the Charter of the Forest in its 800th anniversary year.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: This is one of the best combination of exhibitions that I've seen here. There's a lot of excellent quality art to look at - I found it quite overwhelming - and it's really difficult to take it all in on one visit. So think very seriously about:
PS You will need a magnifier or a loupe to properly appreciate some of the paintings in these exhibitions. If you forget yours, you can borrow one from reception.
Rankafu: Masterpieces of Japanese Woodblock Prints of Orchids
These impressive and very beautiful woodblock prints of orchids are based on the watercolours of Zuigetsu Ikeda. They were first published in 1946.
Rankafu means as ‘Orchid Flower Album’. These prints are on loan from the Collection of Stephen Kirby and this is first major exhibition of the Rankafu woodblock colour prints outside of Japan.
Woodblock printing of this quality is technically demanding and the exhibition includes a display explaining how they are produced.
Botanical Theatre: The Art of Pandora Sellars
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - This is an exhibition NOT TO BE MISSED.
It's unlikely you'll ever see its like again.
Many experienced botanical artists will need no introduction to the late Pandora Sellars. She has been described by Shirley Sherwood as “One of the most important botanical artists of all time” and “the best leaf painter ever”. Others would characterise her as being one of the best botanical artists when it comes to tackling a complex composition which shows off the botanical features of a plant to best effect.
However very few will have ever seen more than a few examples of her artwork in person.
This exhibition is unique and a wonderful opportunity to
Those who do not know about Pandora Sellars can read all about her and her botanical artwork in About Pandora Sellars (1936-2017) my dedicated page on this website.
The artwork is on loan from:
Mark Frith: A Legacy of Oaks
This is an exhibition of a series of 20 highly intricate, large-scale graphite drawings of Britain’s most characterful veteran oaks, many of which are more than 1,000 years. The trees are shown in winter - devoid of all leaves and new growth.
They were drawn by Mark Frith who studied Fine Art at Bristol before becoming a BAFTA award-winning filmmaker before starting to draw his first tree in 2011.
The series were commissioned by publisher, poet, and philanthropist, Felix Dennis. After he died, ten trees were gifted to the Kew Collection and ten are now owned by the Heart of England Forest - founded by Felix Dennis.
Trees: Delight in the Detail
This exhibition leans very much towards looking at the details of trees rather than the tree as a whole - and different approaches used to paint the details of trees.
The artwork represents trees from all over the world - from temperate areas and the tropics - and the detail of their leaves, cones, flowers, fruits, seeds and nuts.
Sizes vary enormously according to real life but also due to enlargement employed to show the detail of a particular aspect.
The artwork comes from the Shirley Sherwood Collection - collected from artists from all over the world. Artists include:
This post puts on record all those artists who have artwork in Down Under II: Works from the Shirley Sherwood Collection at the The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art in Kew Gardens.
It also provides views of artwork in the exhibition for those who have been unable to attend - or need an incentive to visit before it ends on Sunday 16th September 2018!
The exhibition contains a mix of works by Australian and New Zealand artists based combined with studies of some remarkable Australasian native plants, created by artists from other parts of the world. All were collected since 1990.
All the artwork comes from the Shirley Sherwood Botanical Art Collection.
Some of the artists included in the exhibition Susannah Blaxill, Paul Jones, Celia Rosser and Margaret Stones were well established botanical artists when Dr Sherwood started collecting.
However, her first exhibition of botanical art in Sydney in 1998 triggered an interest in botanical art which led to
The list of artists and the 43 artworks included in the exhibition works as follows:
Some of the plants have interesting stories or names and these are also highlighted
Names of the Artists / Titles of the Artwork
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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