The 10 most popular botanical artists and botanical illustrators from the past - with dedicated pages on my website - are ranked and listed below.
To date the 18th and 20th centuries are doing very well. The spread across the centuries is as follows:
It's very interesting that the top three female botanical artists are all people that I would think of as being part of the great "exploration" heritage of botanical art. They used their own initiative to decide where to go, what to paint and how to present it in terms of contemporary ways of exhibiting and publicising their work.
Some food for thought maybe as people compile their "to do" lists for next year?
Links to the dedicated web pages for each artist are embedded in the names of the botanical artists listed below. The ranked order is based on the Google Analytics data for my website for the last four years.
1. Maria Sibylla Merian (1647 - 1717)
Her popularity is, in part, influenced by all the events and celebrations of her life generated by the 300th anniversary of her death in 2017. There was a lot of interest in her life during that period - and since.
2. Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759 - 1840)
Probably one of the most popular botanical artists with the general public. Due in no small part to the considerable reproduction of his paintings for wall decorations. However his achievements in terms of "series" paintings were considerable and varied - particularly Les Liliacees (1802 - 15) and Les Roses (1817 - 21). He also has the unique distinction of painting on commission for both Queen Marie Antoinette and the Empress Josephine Bonaparte!
3. Margaret Mee (1909 - 1998)
A lot of her paintings of plants in the Amazon Rainforest were exhibited in the "Brazil - a Powerhouse of Plants" exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens in 2016. Her focus on the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has also seen her much referenced in recent times
4. Marianne North (1830 - 1890)
There are not many artists who can say they've travelled to and painted plants in
5. Rory McEwen (1932 - 1982)
Probably the best known and most popular of more recent contemporary artists. As 'The Colours of Reality' Retrospective Exhibition in 2013 at Kew demonstrated, this is an artist who has been a considerable influence on many of the most talented leading botanical artists of today
6. Elizabeth Blackwell (1707 - 1758)
A lady botanical artist with a fascinating backstory who painted plants growing in the Chelsea Physic Garden. Blackwell compiled and published her hand drawn, engraved and coloured "A Curious Herbal" (1737-1739) in order to raise funds to free her husband from debtors prison.
7. Sydney Parkinson (1745 - 1771)
The botanical artist who sailed on the Endeavour, with Captain Cook, to South America, Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia - and died on the way back. He's well known in connection to the development of his drawings and paintings for Banks Florilegium.
8. Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-1770)
The leading botanical artist in Europe in 1750! This German born artist was a prodigious artist who produced an enormous number of high quality illustrations on commission for various botanical publications and plant collectors. He was one of the most influential botanical artists of all time due to his development of the Linnaean style of botanical illustration. He is also one of my favourites!
9. Arthur Harry Church (1865-1937)
A botanist who focused on the morphology and structure of plants and began to illustrate to demonstrate his findings. He has since earned a reputation as a scientific botanical illustrator of note.
10. Pandora Sellars (1936 - 2017)
The youngest of the botanical artists in this list and the one who died most recently. She is widely considered to be a contemporary equivalent to the botanical masters of the past and one of the top botanical painters of all time. Botanical Theatre: The Art of Pandora Sellars (1936-2017) - a retrospective exhibition of her paintings on display at Kew demonstrated that for those who were fortunate enough to be able to visit and see her work
Tomorrow - for the last blog post of the decade, I'll be reviewing the Top 20 Pages on my Botanical Art & Artists website based on the number of pageviews they've enjoyed since they were created.
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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since June 2015
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