Known by some as Darwin's orchid, Angraecum sesquipidale was included in his "Origin of Species", where he noted that the long green spur was ..."of astonishing length". He correctly predicted that ..."in Madagascar there must be moths with proboscides capable of extension to a length of eleven inches".
Having grown cool-house orchids for many years, and knowing of the Angraceum sesquipidale's special place in the orchid world, Isobel was thrilled when she was given a specimen. She was even more excited when it bloomed in the second year of her ownership, especially as it was grown on her kitchen windowsill and not in a warm greenhouse. It has adapted well to this situation as it is about to flower again right now, and she looks forward once more to it's large, creamy, waxy bloom and exquisite evening scent.
The painting was completed last April (2010) and as the flower lasted for a considerable time I comfortably completed it in the region of two weeks.
b. Birmingham, England 1943
Isobel first trained in the hotel and catering industry. After qualifying as a teacher, she became a lecturer in catering subjects in technical colleges. Whilst running a Hotel School on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, she was inspired by the exotic colours of the tropical flora. Previously having no formal training, she began experimenting with watercolours for the first time, painting indigenous plants. On returning to England in 1984 she took a course in Botanical Illustration with Margaret Merrit. She now teaches painting herself and has been awarded nine Royal Horticultural Society medals. Isobel has contributed to illustrations in the Royal Horticultural Society's New Dictionary of Gardening and has work in the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library. Her paintings are included in several publications including Dr Shirley Sherwood's book A Passion for Plants: Contemporary Botanical Masterworks.