|Part of the Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton Collection in the Main Gallery|
Dr Sherwood has been collecting botanical art since 1990 and now has some 851 paintings in her collection.
Isaac M. Sutton saw an exhibition of her collection in New York in 1998 and was "blown away" by the art. He started buying paintings and used her book accompanying the first exhibition as a guide to what to collect. He now has some 270 paintings - and added two more with works from the two Sues (see 'Black and White in Colour' at Kew Gardens - a review). I understand this is now the largest private collection of botanical art in the USA. It includes examples of artwork by leading botanical artists from all over the work.
This exhibition is based on a selection of his works which have been previously exhibited at the Hunt Institute, Pittsburgh, and at the New York Botanic Gardens.
Inspired to collect: The Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton Collection is an interview with Isaac M Sutton on the Kew Gardens website
I greatly enjoyed listening to Mr Sutton's stories of what a serious collector has to do to secure an artwork!
He has a very clear view that botanical art should be collected to live with and he hangs his on the walls of his home. He also pointed out that a private collector has a very real advantage over institutional collections in the sense that the decisions he makes about what to purchase doesn't have to fulfil any criteria other than his own. His aim is to have paintings which appeal to him since he intends to hang a painting in his home. He wants to see technical excellence in terms of both the botany and the painting. He's also interested in paintings which contribute important records of current plant life. Finally he's very pleased if a painting has a composition which attracts the eye.
This personal set of criteria had led to some purchases of some stunning works which beckon you to come and look at them from the other side of the gallery. At the same time he has acquired some very fine small paintings of exquisite detail. I also particularly liked the way he has purchased multiple paintings of the same plant (e.g. the snow eucalyptus) and multiple studies (e.g. those by Elaine Musgrave) which is not something one often sees in exhibitions of botanical art.
Having met Mr Sutton in the afternoon, I had the pleasure of introducing him to Sandra Armitage, the President of the Society of Botanical Artists at the evening reception for the Private View. I think there might just be an invitation to come to a future exhibition of the SBA winging its way to Mr Sutton in the future!
You can also see the works in the Collection on its dedicated Facebook Page. Artists who have paintings in the collection include the following.
Click the link to their websites in their name to see more of their artwork.
Click the link in the name of the plant or flower to see its image on Facebook.
- Beverley Allen - the bamboo is absolutely amazing. It has a wonderful double page spread in the catalogue which conveys something of the impact of this painting
|Beverley Allen flew in from Australia for the Private View|
standing in front of her painting of bamboo
Bambusa Vulgaris 'Striata' (Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney) 2005
watercolour on paper approx. 29 inches by 66inches
- Anita Barley's painting of Kniphofia uvaria Red Hot Poker is a wonderful composition. I found an interview with her where she explains her technique
- Susannah Blaxill - exhibiting Pear - watercolour and gouache over pencil on paper
- Jean Emmons - Jean is one of my favourite artists. There are two of her paintings included in the exhibiton. I suspect Jean likes plants with knobbly bits - see her Celeriac - on vellum. Her Easter Egg Radishes are absolutely magical. Her work is also included in the collections of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, in Pittsburgh; the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium collection
- Damodar Lal Gurjar (Indian) - He is a freelance artist, currently working in Jaipur, India and doesn't just do botanical art. Mr Sutton was very taken with his tempera painting on paper of Opium Poppy bunch. The work is burnished by the artist.
- Regine Hagedorn - there are three paintings in the exhibition by this very skilled artist. Her watercolour painting of Michelle Meillaud will be familiar to many - except I forget which book it is featured in! Her Petits Fruits is simply divine
- Celia Hegedüs - paints in watercolour on vellum and her painting of Tulipa 'Columbine Flame' matched any of those I saw recently painted by Rory McEwen
- David MacKay's Snow Gum Eucalyptus niphophilia Triptych is absolutely stunning (flowering fruiting branch; trunk and details of flowers, leaves, seedlings and fruits). He apparently paints water on the bark to make the colours pop.
|(Left) Snow Gum Eucalyptus niphophilia - flowering fruiting branch by David MacKay|
(Centre) Leaf Study by Elaine Musgrave (watercolour and pencil on paper)
(Right) Snow Gum Eucalyptus niphophilia - details of flowers, leaves, seedlings and fruits by David MacKay
- Hillary Parker's amazing Pumpkin Vine (Cucurbita pepo maxima) was apparently discovered under a tarpaulin! This painting featured on the cover of the 2005 American Society of Botanical Artists Eighth Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibit at the Horticultural Society of New York. It also enjoys a great double page fold-out spread in the catalogue
"Botanical artists spend a great deal of time observing and this observation is taken to its zenith in Hillary Parker's epic painting, Pumpkin Vine. To capture buds, flowers, early fruit and mature fruit, this masterpiece had to have been composed over a lengthy period of time in order to achieve its meticulous,
gestural perfection.gestural perfection."
-Jodie V. Jacobson, New York Horticultural Society Curator
- Celia Rosser - a pencil and watercolour study of Banksia rosserae (2004). Celia spent 25 years producing a complete set of paintings of all known Banksias. This one was discovered after she had finished and hence was named in her honour - see Celia Rosser's Banksias
- Carol Woodin - there are four works in the exhibition. She paints in watercolour on vellum stretched over board