... A site entirely dedicated to botanical painting! Here you will find information about artists, paintings, prints, exhibitions and courses. Have a browse and if you would like to contribute any news or botanical information to the site, do please get in touch.
TREASURES OF BOTANICAL PAINTING: The Kew Diamond Jubilee Collection
To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen, the library at Kew have carefully selected seven works by pioneering botanical painters from their collection to be made into limited edition prints. Each painting represents a decade of HM The Queen's Reign and the set (limited to just 500 limited editions) includes work by renowned artists such as Ferdinand Bauer and Georg Dionysis Ehret. To find out how to apply for one of these limited edition sets click here.
12th Anniversary; Paeonia moutan, watercolour on paper, Sydenham Teast Edwards, 1809
Christopher Mills Librarian, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on The History of Florilegium...
(Extract originally written for the preface in Volume One of The Highgrove Florilegium)
In essence man has been creating florilegia since developing the practice of depicting plants to aid the identification of medically useful plants some 2,000 years ago. In the sense we mean it today, however, the term florilegium is generally accepted to have first been used by Adrian Collaert (1560-1618) in his work simply entitled Florilegium published in 1590. Over the next few decades several authors and illustrators used the word in the titles of their work, notably Johann Theodor de Bry (1561-1623) in his Florilegium novum, 1611 and Emanuel Sweerts (1552-1612) Florilegium, 1612, which is also probably the first nursery catalogue to have ever been produced. This served to establish its modern use.
There are of course many works, some of them among the finest flower books ever produced, which do not explicitly use the term but are clearly a florilegium. One thinks, for example, of Basil Besler’s Hortus Eystettensis, 1613 or Robert Thornton’s Temple of Flora, 1799-1807. The history of the florilegium includes some of the most important artists who have ever depicted plants. Notably from between 1740-1840, a period which can be described as the greatest flowering of the florilegium, we have Franz Bauer (1758-1840), Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826), Joseph Pierre Redout© (1759-1840) and Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-70).
Other florilegia remind us that they grew from and record some key points in history. One thinks of the Banks Florilegium, arising from Captain Cook’s First Voyage, a project that after the plates were engraved, was delayed for 200 years but finally printed as originally intended and by the same publishers who now bring the Highgrove Florilegium to print. The Banks Florilegium is not alone in having a long or eventful history. Such has been the scale of the enterprise of many works that from inception to final publication has taken many years. The laurels here have to go to the Flora Danica which took 122 years to complete. That it was completed is indicative of the dedication and enterprise often going into producing these great works and which remains a feature of the florilegium in this present age.In her essay on “The Renaissance of Contemporary Botanical Art” in A New Flowering (2005), Dr Shirley Sherwood, who has done so much to ensure a renewed interest in botanical art, refers to some of the key twentieth century figures in botanical art such as Margaret Mee (1909-88) and Rory McEwen (1932-82) who through their art challenged us to see things in a new or different way. Botanical art can now convey a wider meaning than was intentional before the twentieth century and can help us to focus on how beautiful but also fragile our environment.