This is the second three posts covering RHS Picture Panel responses to my questions about the assessment process relating to the RHS Botanical Art Shows.
The three posts are
The Judges and the Judging Process
Below you can find the questions I asked and the responses I got from the RHS Picture Panel Secretary. I've edited the format of the latter slightly (e.g. paragraphs/bullet points) to make it more readable online.
Who is involved with the judging? What experience and expertise do they bring to assessment?
The judging Panel currently includes experienced practising botanical artists and teachers, botanists, an art collector, horticultural experts and garden writing editors.
We are always looking to make sure we have the right combination of skills.
Gillian Barlow has been the Chair of the Panel for over 10 years and continues to be a respected botanical artist. She brings a wealth of experience as a practicing artist, a previous gold medal winner and a judge.
Along with other members of the judging panel, Gillian is supported by Deborah Lambkin and Helen Allen, both of whom are also practicing artists and teachers.
How are standards and criteria defined by the RHS Picture Committee - for the guidance of those assessing each year?
The judges take into account the following criteria, which is a summary of the guidance, rules and regulations detailed in the Botanical Illustration Exhibitor Factsheet (557kB pdf) :
Quality of botanical illustration
Artists are strongly advised to paint from living plant specimens and to make use of photographs for reference only, paintings directly copied from photographs are not acceptable.
Quality of the presentation
The exhibit is judged as a whole and as such the presentation of pictures on a coherent theme with consistent presentation is paramount.
The written information includes labels detailing the full Latin name of the plant correctly styled and presented, the title of the exhibit and the media in which it is executed.
For the first time this year, we are asking artists to present a short written piece with their exhibit, about how they approach their botanical art. The judges are keen to ensure that the artists’ work has been created from plants specimens (rather than photographs). We also feel that visitors will be interested to know more about the practice of botanical art.
NOTE: Hye Woo Shin is exhibiting again next month at the RHS Botanical Art Show 2018 (10-12 July 2018) at the RHS Lindley Hall in London. You can see her Lauraceae in Korea exhibit on her website
Including the overall artistic effect and the scale of the endeavour:
Positive / negative / suggestions
In addition, the judges note additional specific areas for feedback including
How is consistency achieved year on year (as presumably the members of the team of assessors changes over time)?
The current Panel of judges has been with the RHS for a number of years, but when new members are invited they are given an induction and training sessions and the opportunity to see examples of Gold medal winning art works in the Lindley Library collections.
An RHS moderator accompanies the judges throughout, to ensure consistency and offer additional feedback on both the process and the exhibits where needed.
The Secretary is also responsible for ensuring all areas of the judging criteria have been considered, each member of the Panel has had the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and that accurate feedback and voting is recorded.
I know a new points system was introduced in 2015 and was initially a trial and I'm wondering how that got on.
The trial needed further testing and refinement as the judges weren’t happy that it satisfactorily reflected their needs. It is going to be reviewed again in the Autumn.
Tomorrow, the final post in the series gets down to the nitty gritty of
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