Fiona Strickland: Tulipa Exhibition opened last week at the Jonathan Cooper Gallery in Park Walk, Chelsea. Below you can find my review and images of the exhibition and what Fiona told me about her painting when we met up for lunch on Thursday last week. Plus more about Fiona and the presentation of the paintings at the end.
This is Fiona Strickland's second - and much awaited - solo exhibition after The Vital Moment in 2016. So much so that Botanical art collectors and lovers of heritage tulips had bought a number of her paintings before Tulipa opened!
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND botanical artists pay a visit. It's a rare exhibition of botanical artwork of a very high quality. I'm very sure that all those who work in vellum and all those who aspire to do must surely want to visit - because Fiona sets a benchmark which has been rarely equalled or exceeded. Besides - I also know a number of botanical artists, like me, are also botanical art collectors!
Do not forget your magnifier to see if you can spot her brush strokes!
You have until 26 September to visit the Exhibition (and must book a visiting time in advance due to social distancing requirements)
If you can't get to Chelsea you can either:
I went to see Tulipa on Thursday but met up with Fiona Strickland and her husband Robert McNeill for lunch in Chelsea beforehand. We had a wonderful catch-up since our last "chinwag" at the RHS Botanical Art Show in 2019 and I asked her about the exhibition.
This exhibition of stunning tulips should have been held in prime Tulip season back in Spring. However it was not to be. Like so many others, this exhibition was opening late - having, of course, been postponed due to the Pandemic.
It has been more than two years in the making - tulips only bloom in the spring!
The timescale was in part determined by Fiona's decision to paint some of the English Florists' tulips which are only available from the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society - who have been showing them since 1836! This is the sole surviving Tulip Society in the UK - which grows heritage tulips (including English Florists' Tulip which are characterised by the flamed and feathered markings caused by Tulip Breaking Virus - which made them highly valued during Tulipomania). They also supplied Rory McEwen with tulips for his paintings. Indeed two of the tulip paintings in the show are of Tulipa ‘Rory McEwen’, a Bybloemen Flame tulip that was named in McEwen’s honour. One on Kelmscott Vellum and one on Rory McEwen Kelmscott bequeathed to her by the Hunt Institute where his vellum supplies now reside.
Like Rory McEwen before her, having learned of its work Strickland became a member, and was delighted to be gifted prize- winning tulips from its annual show to depict in her work. Carefully transporting them home in the brown beer bottles in which they are exhibited, after painting these perfect specimens Strickland could not bear to part with them, and has preserved their dried forms in her studio. Catalogue
There are eighteen watercolour paintings of tulips in this solo show - predominantly English Florists' Tulips - of which thirteen have now sold.
The Tulipa Exhibition by Fiona Strickland at the Jonathan Cooper Gallery in Chelsea opens on 2nd September (until 26 September 2020). However the exhibition has been published on his website and - as you can clearly see from the exhibits online (and the image below) - sales have already been made.
You can see from the website (and the catalogue) that Fiona's new paintings of tulips are all watercolour on Kelmscott Vellum and most are small to medium sized paintings - making them more affordable than her much larger paintings. "Affordable" in this context is very much defined by the fact she is one of the leading botanical artists in the world who is very popular with collectors. So if you're thinking of buying a painting by Fiona, I'd act sooner rather than later.
I should probably add at this point that some of my prized possessions are catalogues of past exhibitions by leading botanical artists. Many of these are now extremely difficult to buy and very expensive when you do. So my very strong recommendation if you're unable to get to see this exhibition in London is to buy a catalogue. You won't regret it.
Exhibition Title: Tulipa
Dates: 2-24 September 2020
Venue: Jonathan Cooper Gallery
Address: 20 Park Walk, London, SW10 0AQ
Hours: Gallery in currently open Monday - Saturday
(appointments encouraged - ring +44 (0) 207 351 0410)
The Spring Exhibition at the Jonathan Cooper Gallery in Chelsea is celebrating botanical art with an ONLINE Exhibition - due to the constraints imposed by the lockdown.
Fiona Strickland (six works) - Fiona is a world renowned botanical artist and tutor who lives in Scotland. b.1956 in Edinburgh , she received a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art. Her watercolour paintings are complex and very detailed and demonstrate her amazing control over multiple layers of transparent watercolour to create her intense colour and beautifully rendered tone for the smallest details. She has exhibited internationally and has won several awards including a Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal (2008) and The Hort's "Best in Show" Award at 18th Annual International in New York. Her botanical artwork is much in demand and is included in premier collections around the world - including the RHS Lindley Library, the Shirley Sherwood Collection and the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation and numerous private collections in Europe, USA and Australia. Jonathan Cooper represents her in the UK and the works in this show feature single blooms of spring flowers - tulips, poppies and hippeastrum.
Colour is Fiona Strickland’s signature approach to botanical watercolour. Her attention to detail and technical virtuosity in the use of transparent washes - used to build her vibrant paintings - highlights her skill in handling colour. Strickland's emotive response to the visual elements of colour, tone, texture and movement in the plant world is captured in her very personal approach to botanical painting.
Note also that Fiona Strickland's second solo exhibition "Tulipa" at Jonathan Cooper - which was due to be held this May - will now be held between 4th - 26th September 2020. It will feature 18 paintings in watercolour on vellum. I'll be writing more about this in due course.
Rosie Sanders (six works) - Rosie lives and works in Devon and is well known for creating large to very large paintings of intense colour in watercolour on a variety of paper (Arches, Saunders Waterford and Richard de Bas). In London, her works is available from Jonathan Cooper's Park Walk Gallery and the works in the exhibition are priced between £3,800 and £34,000. She is a self-taught artist who started as a freelance botanical artist in 1974. Since then she has won five RHS gold medals and researched, written and illustrated a number of books including one on Roses and another on The English Apple. She exhibited with the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation in 1992 and her work was in the very first exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew (and a number of others since). Her work is included in numerous collections and she has been commissioned to produce paintings for both the Queen and the Queen Mother.
Beverley Allen (six works) - was born in Sydney in 1945 and is now one of the leading botanical artists in Australia. has exhibited annually at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney ‘Botanica’ Exhibition since 1999 and internationally including New York, Washington, Chicago, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Kyoto and London - winning prestigious awards. Her paintings are included in the Highgrove Florilegium and in the collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens in both Sydney and Kew Gardens, the RHS Lindley Library, the Hunt Institute in Pittsburgh. Her paintings in the exhibition are in watercolour on Arches paper, mostly at 50 x 40cm (£3,800 - £8,500)
Kathy Pickles GM's new solo show "Flowers and Fruit" opened yesterday in the Exhibition Room of the Old Library in Kirkwall on the Isle of Orkney in Scotland. It continues until 13th October 2018 and is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.
Her solo exhibition contains 64 botanical paintings in watercolour - mostly on paper but with some on vellum. 24 paintings were sold at the Preview Evening and another 8 in the gallery yesterday morning so Kathy got to the half way mark in terms of sales after the preview and 3 hours of being open to the public! I gather her paintings on vellum are going fast!
If you're starting a collection, I'd very much recommend you take a close look....
My experience of Kathy's paintings in the past are they priced to sell - and she almost always sells nearly all of them!
You can also read more about Kathy Pickles at the end of this post.
Flowers and Fruit
While not everybody can get to Orkney to see the exhibition, you can see most of the work in the show on Kathy's Facebook Page - Kathy Pickles Botanical Art or her website at www.kathypickles.co.uk. Plus she is a regular participant in the Botanical Artists Facebook Group where she also posts her new work.
Kathy works - very fast - from observation (and never from photographs) and her paintings follow the seasons and what she's growing in her garden!
About Kathy Pickles
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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