On a recent visit to the The Library Reading Room in the Library, Art and Archives at Kew I came across a commemoration of the work of Pandora Sellars who died on 9th May 2017, age 80 - see below. If you get a chance to visit and look at one of her paintings I very much recommend you do.
Importantly, the commemoration recognises her role as a very important mentor to many botanical illustrators all over the world.
The Oak Spring Garden Foundation has made some of its collection available online via a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture. This will be of great interest to those (like me) who are enthusiastic about the history of botanical art.
The Foundation was created by Bunny Mellon who was one of the richest women in the world and who died in 2014 age 103. (Learn more about Bunny Mellon)
Oak Spring Farm was the former home of the Mellons and comprised a 4,000-acre estate, in Upperville, Virginia. The farm has now been sold along with other items from her estate
However, her prized collection of books, manuscripts and art on plants, gardens, and landscapes is now housed in The Oak Spring Garden Library within a 263-acre estate which helps to perpetuate her memory.
Oak Spring Garden Foundation on Google Arts & Culture
OSGF is dedicated to inspiring and facilitating scholarship and public dialogue on the history and future of plants, including the culture of gardens and landscapes and the importance of plants for human well-being.
The display on the Oak Spring Garden Foundation Page on Google Arts & Culture includes:
The first video Women Botanical Artists includes:
Women Artists Part 2 covers:
Research at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation
Beginning in January 2018 we are able to offer free overnight accommodation on the Oak Spring estate for bona fide scholars wishing to study material in the Oak Spring Garden Library collections. Since we are only able to accommodate a limited number of scholars at any given time, we will probably need to prioritize our visitors based on timing and topics.
If you'd like to visit, you can find the Oak Spring Garden Foundation at 1776 Loughborough Lane, Upperville, VA 20184, USA.
You need to send a brief proposal
This is an appreciation of the life of Pandora Sellars and contains many contributions by way of 'thank you' for the life of a great botanical artist
The celebrated botanical artist Pandora Sellars GM died on 9th May 2017, age 80. She is perhaps best known by many for two iconic paintings which contributed to the revival of botanical art in the UK
Indeed the lives and careers of many leading botanical artists and teachers in the UK, Canada, USA, Japan and Australia owe much to “the best leaf painter ever”.
This kindly and introverted artist, with the quite remarkable blue eyes and a keen sense of humour, also enjoyed lasting relationships with botanists, archivists and botanical illustrators at Kew Gardens - and across the world.
Read on to find out why... (click link bottom right)
A new botanical art display 'Painting by numbers' in Oxford is about the paintings of botanical artist Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826). It also covers research into the techniques he used to create the colours in his paintings for the Flora Graeca from sketches of plants and animals in the Eastern Mediterranean that were annotated with numbers.
The small display of about 12 items opens at the Weston Library (part of the Bodleian Libraries) in Oxford today. It's open daily from Saturday, 29th April 2017 until 9th July and admission is free. (Hours and more details of the venue at the end. [Note: This post was updated and revised after Bodleian advised on 2nd May that this is more of a small temporary display than an exhibition]
It's a display about both the art and science of the Flora Graeca - one of the first Floras to focus on a specific geographical area, in this case Greece. It's widely considered to be one of the finest examples of botanical illustration created from working in the field.
This article Bodleian display showcases scientific research into Bauer's botanical masterpieces comments on the scope of the exhibition
The Flora Graeca is one of the rarest and most expensive botanical books in the world. It took 54 years to produce and only 25 copies were first printed. It has come to be an important account of the plants of the eastern Mediterranean.
The display includes some of the finest botanical and zoological paintings in the world. Its main focus is on:
The display showcases sketches and watercolours based on Bauer and Sibthorp’s journey around Greece and Turkey in 1786-88, where they studied the diversity of plants and wildlife and collected thousands of specimens of flora. Bauer made hundreds of pencil sketches of plants and animals during this trip and then came to Oxford where he spent six years (1788-1794) producing watercolours from these sketches. The numerical notes on Bauer’s botanical sketches indicate that he assigned different colours different numbers, and marked these numbers on his sketches, so when he later turned these into more detailed watercolours, he would know which colour to use where. This enabled him to replicate his sketches of flora and fauna to an amazing degree of accuracy, but researchers are still trying to understand exactly how this worked in practise, and if he used a colour chart that has since been lost, or if he simply had an astonishing colour memory.
Modern scientific analyses reveal the techniques Bauer used to transform his sketches into more than 1,200 of the finest natural history illustrations ever made.
The Flora Graeca and Oxford
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-17
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