Saturday, April 16, 2011

Certificates of Botanical Merit at SBA Exhibition 2011

Every year the Society of Botanical Artists. awards a number of Certificates of Botanical Merit to entries in the Annual Exhibition.  These works set a very standard of excellence in botanical art.  All you get is the Certificate and the entitlement to letters after your name - but they are very prized!
The  certificate is for works of strictly botanical value and is judged each year by an expert in the botanical field.  The achievement if recognised by the letters CBM after the artist's name, with the date.
The expert judget for 2011 was Maureen Lazarus from the Department of Biodiversity and Systematic Biology at the National Museum Wales.  According to SBA President Vickie Marsh's speech,  Ms Lazarus spent some two days surveying all the works submitted before selecting those worthy of the award of a Certificate of Botanical Merit.

Papaver June Poppy by Fiona Strickland DA SBA GM CBM '09
(62 x 43cm / 24 x 17in, watercolour)
You don't have to be a member of the Society of Botanical Artists to win one of these coveted certificates.

My particular favourite of those winning CBMs this year was the June Poppy painted in watercolour by Fiona Strickland.  If you've never seen Fiona's work, it's worth a trip to London just to see the quality of her painting and what she can achieve.  As somebody commented to me, there's an immense number of meticulous watercolour washes used to achieve the intense saturation and luminosity found in her work. 

In 2011, Certificates of Botanical Merit were awarded to
  • Mariko Aikawa SBA - Strelitizia Reginae (pencil)
  • Susan Christopher Coulson VPSBA, SFP, GM, CMB '06 - August Bloom (coloured pencil).  Susan is well known for creating a collection of specimens in one drawing.  This particular one includes:
    • Autumn Bloom (Coloured Pencil)
      by Susan Christopher Coulson
      VPSBA, SFP, GM, CMB '06
      Lonicera henryi;
    • Ribes sanguinium; 
    • Purple podded pea
    • Plum 'Opal'
    • Berberis buxifolia
    • Greengage var, unknown
    • Wild Bullace
    • Mahonia x media 'Charity'
    • Papaver somniferum;
    • Sloes
    • Damson 'Merryweather'
    • Wild Bilberries
    • Plum 'Victoria'
    • cultivated Blueberry
  • Guy William Eves SBA CPGFS - Magnolia (pencil)
Magnolia by Guy William Eves SBA CPFGS (pencil)
Taraxacum officinale by Lisa Tommasi (watercolour)
  • Penny Stenning SBA CPGFS CBM '99 and '06 - Gladiolus (watercolour).  Penny is a Fellow of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society, and also paints for the Eden Project.
  • Brenda Watts SBA GM CBM '97, '02, '04 and '08 - Autumn Seeds
  • Marilyn Wheeler Dip SBA(Dist.) Assoc SBA SGM CBM '10 - Rubus Fruticosa - bramble (watercolour)  Marilyn Wheeler is a professional botanical artist based in Mid-Wales.  There is an exhibition of her work at Aberglasney House and Garden between 15-28 July 2011.
Autumn Seeds by Brenda Watts SBA GM CBM '97, '02, '04 and '08
The exhibition can be seen at Westminster Central Hall and closes tomorrow.  Entrance is free.

Society of Botanical Artists Annual Exhibition 2012 
- Flowers in the Olympic Year

Next year's exhibition can be seen at Westminster Central Hall between 20th - 29th April 2012.  Exhibition entry schedules are available from the Executive Secretary.

Note:  Maureen Lazarus is one of the authors of The Paradise Garden, a Museum of Wales Publication about the development of botanical illustration.


  1. Thank you for keeping us updated with the exhibition, wonderful for those of us who live overseas and can't make it there. Look forward to hearing more

  2. Stunning work - Fiona Stricklands Poppy is superb. Lesley

  3. Fiona Strickland's Poppy is beautiful - so glad you've put a picture of it on your blog Katherine :) Great show, and I am not surprised who got the Certificates of Botanical Merit, as they did stand out to me for their excution - marvellous! I thought the Dandelion was exceptional in it's flow and freeness, and it was interesting to see her writing foring part of the composition. I am a bit sad that the other Poppy wasn't recognised. I can't remember who it was by now, but it was amazing - very life like, with pencil in the backgrond. Frustratigly, it wasn't one in the catalogue either.

    Time to start pencilling in the next show in our 2012 diaries!


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