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 is a review of 'The Greenwood Trees - History, Folklore and uses of Britain's trees' by Christina Hart-Davies - a slim volume that is essentially about the native trees of the UK.
By the time I got to the end I realised that the book she has written and illustrated reminded me a lot of many of the early Herbals - which describe and identify plants - including illustrations - and identify what they are associated with and what they are used for. Both her previous book and this one are focused on telling you what a plant/tree is good for as well as what it looked like. It goes way, way beyond a book of botanical illustrations
It is in effect a contemporary version of what we refer to in botanical literature as Herbals. It is packed full of information and illustrations about the different native trees. What's more Christina has written all the text, which references facts and beliefs from very many of the books from the past - from Dioscorides onwards - and painted all the illustrations in watercolour
Overall, the book is enormously informative, very interesting and very accessible - it and can be enjoyed by young and old, by those interested in nature and trees and by those interested in different ways of representing and painting trees.
For example it includes snippets of information e.g.
Who knew the aspen was one of the earliest trees to re-colonise the UK after the Ice Age?
The book covers 37 different varieties of tree, of which 31 are natives of the UK i.e. they were around 6,000 years BC when the waters started to rise again after the Ice Age.
The book has five sections:
About "The Greenwood Trees"
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
BAA Visitors so far....
since April 2015
Subscribe to BAA News
Blog posts are emailed to you when you
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-18
Unauthorised use or duplication of ANY material on this blog without written permission is strictly prohibited. Please also respect the copyright of all artists featured here.
What's your news?
This blog highlights news - in brief - about botanical art exhibitions around the world.
Use the Contact form to tell me about an exhibition and provide a summary of relevant information. If listing your event I will ask you for relevant images.
The Best Botanical Art Instruction Books
Tap the pic to check out my recommendations
The Best Books about Botanical Art History
Tap the pic to check out my recommendations
Workshops, Classes & Courses
Find out about botanical art workshops, classes courses offered by various organisations and artists in:
Read other Botanical Art Blogs
READ Blogs about botanical art and/or by botanical artists & illustrators
BAA News Archives
This page Botanical Art & Artists on my main blog has an archive of blog posts about past exhibitions of the Society of Botanical Art and Artists
News Blog about artists, awards, exhibitions etc.
Please send me .
- news to share
- info. about exhibitions
- any suggestions for what you'd like to see on this website
- Best Books about Botanical Art History
- History of Botanical Art
- Botanical Art Online
Contact me if you'd like to promote workshops and courses on this site.
This website is free to you but not for me! (See Affiliate Income below)