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:
Kew Gardens has three botanical art surgeries set up over the Autumn and Winter for budding botanical artists to:
The events are free i.e. included with the price of admission to the Gardens.
Sunday 14th October, drop in session 11am - 3pm
Masumi Yamanaka GM (2010)
Masumi was in Nara, Japan but has lived in the UK since 1987. She studied botanical art with Pandora Sellers.
She has been a freelance botanical artist based at the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew since 2007In 2010, she won an RHS Gold Medal for her illustrations of Aesculus indica 'Sydney Pearce'. She has exhibited at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew as follows:
Sunday 9th December, drop-in session 11am - 3pm
Lucy T Smith GM was born in Sydney but now lives and works in London. She works in pen and ink and watercolour.
Lucy has been worked as a botanical illustrator for the Palms of New Guinea project based at Kew for very many years. She also illustrates new species for Kew and is documenting a number of the waterlilies growing at Kew - including the world's largest and smallest. As well as freelancing as a botanical artist for Kew, Lucy also produces paintings for private commissions and exhibitions and teaches botanical illustration. She leads the Kew Certificate in Botanical Illustration and runs short courses in botanical illustration for Kew Gardens and Chelsea Physic Gardens
Lucy has also received a number of prestigious awards
On the Kew website there are two articles about her work -
Sunday 17th Feb 2019, drop-in session 11am - 3pm
Deborah Lambkin GM (1999) has been the official 'Orchid Artist' to the Royal Horticultural Society Orchid Committee since 2005. In 1999 she was awarded an RHS Gold Medal for her collection of eight paintings of Nerines in 1999. To date she has contributed more than 400 orchid paintings to the Royal Horticultural Society's Orchid Painting Collection. She has also exhibited at the World Orchid Conference Botanical Art Exhibition 2014 and published in Curtis Botanical Magazine
Deborah was born in Ireland and lives in London. She trained at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin and is a Member of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists and the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society. . She also has work in the collection of the National Botanical Gardens. Dublin.
In 2014 she joined RHS Picture Advisory Panel which includes judging at the RHS Botanical Art shows.
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