Saturday, September 07, 2013

Two Botanical Art Exhibitions

I should be posting about two botanical art exhibitions but it's a long story! They are:
  • Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society Exhibition - review of an exhibition
  • Florum - preview of their Annual Exhibition

Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society

Artwork by Nicki Tullett and Margaret King
I had a delightful visit at the end of August to the exhibition that the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society held during the month of August at the The Gallery at the Chelsea Physic Garden.

The Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society's aim is to create a collection of drawings and paintings which record the plants growing in the garden.  It was formed in 1995.  The collection at the Physic Garden now comprises some 570 botanical paintings or drawings selected and gifted by members of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society to the Garden over the last 18 years.

Artwork by Julia Trickey and Judith Hillelson
Treasures from a Hidden Garden: Plant portraits by the Florilegium Society included part of this collection, most of which have never previously been seen.  It comprised a wide range of botanical illustrations - with most painted in watercolour.  There was however an excellent section of work in pen and ink.  By the very nature of the society, the exhibition is emphatically leans more towards botanical illustration than floral - with some excellent examples of complete botanical portrayals.

A selection of the works on display will also be seen at the RHS Autumn Show at the Horticultural Halls in Westminster on October 22nd-23rd.

Artwork which stood out for me included

  • a coloured pencil drawing of Salvia by Jo Edwards.  It displayed a very delicate touch and amazingly subtle rendering of the structure and texture of the leaves and very fine colouration of the different parts of the plant

    Salvia Officinalis by Jo Edwards
    coloured pencil
  • Catharine Nicholson's pen and ink drawings of Ferns.  These were simply amazing.  Sadly Catharine died aged 52 of breast cancer in 2011. This was her obituary in The Guardian.  I highly commend you take a look at her website.  I've seen it before and remember how impressed I was with all her work.  She sets a very high standard for those wanting to work in pen and ink.  Her response to cancer is also reminiscent of Rory McEwen.
Ferns by Catherine Nicholson
One thing I do feel that the Society needs to do. It needs a website - or at the very least a Facebook Page.  That way they can share what they do with a wider audience and all the other Florilegium Societies around the world.


©  Sandrine Maugy
The Florum Annual Exhibition opened to the public today at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve.  It continues until 14th September and is open every day 10am to 5pm - entry is free.

The late founder Elizabeth Smail’s ethos centred on the Florum exhibition being “broader than botanical” and 10 years later this philosophy is no different. There are 60 artists displaying botanical and floral artwork - drawings, paintings and fine art prints.  They always do a roaring business (I came away with a lovely woodcut last year).

The exhibition is at the Kent Wildlife Trust's Sevenoaks Reserve, in Bradbourne Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3DH.  The great thing is that this is an exhibition which is accessible by car - with free parking!

I was supposed to be there last night - but after overheating in the high temperatures experienced during our visit to Hampton Court Palace, I had a bad night's sleep. I make a point of never driving at night when tired - and so I missed the PV.  This wasn't a problem as I decided I could go today - and then write the review.

So we got in the car early afternoon and headed off - only to find that the whole of my neighbourhood was experiencing gridlock.  Knowing full well that this can go on for hours (as in two hours to go less than a mile) when it's bad, we turned round and went back home while we still were able to retrace our journey.

So we're going to try again tomorrow!

(I subsequently found out that it was a demonstration by the EDL and that the Metropolitan Police in their "wisdom" decided that diverting traffic in a major way and creating massive gridlock problems for everybody else trying to come into or leave Tower Hamlets was preferable to making the EDL demonstrate in an area which is unlikely to cause offence.  This is now twice that this has happened and caused a major problem for the whole of the borough.  Time I think for the Met Police to have a major rethink!  It's totally unsatisfactory for everybody else's comings and goings to grind to a complete halt.)

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