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Irish botanical artist awarded Margaret Flockton Award (Sydney, Australia)

We’re delighted to report that Irish botanical artist and ISBA member Deborah Lambkin has won a prestigious international award from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney for excellence in scientific botanical illustration.

The Foundation and Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, has awarded the Margaret Flockton Award for Excellence in scientific botanical illustration to RHS Orchid Artist (Irish Botanical Artist), Deborah Lambkin.

The award was for her drawing of a new species of Gastrodia orchid from Madagascar which was chosen from 63 illustrations from 46 artists from 21 different countries.

Ink drawing of Gastrodia orchid. Copyright 2020 Deborah Lambkin

A new species of Gastrodia orchid from Madagascar, illustrated by Deborah Lambkin

The Margaret Flockton Exhibition is a yearly exhibition held at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and showcases work from the world’s leading scientific botanical illustrators. The exhibition is now in its 17th year and attracts submissions from artists worldwide. Deborah is the first Irish artist to ever participate in the event.

The award commemorates the contribution Margaret Flockton made to Australian scientific botanical illustration. The Maple-Brown Family and the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens sponsor this annual, international award for excellence in scientific botanical illustration.

Visit the exhibition online here: 2020 Margaret Flockton Award exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

Irish botanical art at the National Gallery of Ireland this Spring

Free exhibition Drawn from Nature opens on 7 March 2020

Drawn from Nature: Irish Botanical Art opens at the National Gallery of Ireland on 7 March 2020 and runs until 21 June 2020. Admission is free.

Pioneering Irish artists are at the heart of the National Gallery of Ireland’s new free exhibition Drawn from Nature: Irish Botanical Art. From William Kilburn to Lady Edith Blake, the exhibition celebrates artists who made significant contributions to art, science, and our understanding of the natural world.

Curated by Patricia Butler (Guest Curator), assisted by Janet McLean (National Gallery of Ireland), Drawn from Nature features art spanning almost 300 years, from the 1720s to 2019. Contemporary artists include ISBA members Mary Dillon, Shevaun Doherty, Deborah Lambkin, Siobhán M. Larkin, Margareta Pertl, Yanny Petters, Susan Sex, Jane Stark, Lynn Stringer and Holly Somerville.

A volume of designs by William Kilburn (1745-1818) will be on display for the first time in Ireland as part of the exhibition. One of the most eminent calico printers of the 18th century, Kilburn was born on Capel Street in Dublin and later settled in London.

Works by painter and geologist George Victor du Noyer (1817-1869) will also be on display, including studies of mushrooms and apples which he documented for the Ordinance Survey and the Geological Survey.

painting of apples by George Du Noyer

George Victor Du Noyer (1817-1869)
Engl. King. King. Musk. Turnip. Black annat. Winter Rose, 1837
Courtesy of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin

Over 15 women artists are highlighted in the exhibition, including Ellen Hutchins, known as Ireland’s first female botanist. Hutchins discovered many seaweeds and mosses before her death in Cork at the age of 29.

Many of the drawings, watercolours, prints, and books will be on display for the first time at the National Gallery of Ireland during the exhibition. Works from public and private collections include selections from the National Botanic Gardens (Glasnevin), National Museums Northern Ireland, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew) and the V&A (London).

Janet McLean of the National Gallery of Ireland commented:

While many Irish botanical artists ventured across the world, others barely stepped beyond their townlands. This exhibition highlights how they are bonded by a common curiosity in nature and a compulsion to record it.

It celebrates centuries of looking closely, drawing carefully, and treasuring the complex beauty of plants.

Guest curator Patricia Butler, author of Irish Botanical Illustrators & Flower Painters, on which this exhibition is based, commented:

There is currently a vigorous revival of interest in botanical art worldwide and this exhibition pays tribute to the extensive and distinctive Irish contribution to the area. I hope that visitors to the Print Gallery in the National Gallery of Ireland will enjoy exploring the work of over 30 artists ranging from the relatively unknown to the widely acclaimed.

See nationalgallery.ie for more details and check our calendar of events on this website for two interesting talks related to the exhibition: Talk & Tea: Irish Botanical Art and Irish Contributions to Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.

Sceitse: November Update

We hope you had a lovely summer and that you’ve all been busy working on your sketches for our latest project!

Get-together 23 November 2019

If you’d like to get together with other members, meet up for coffee, or if you have some questions about the Sketchbook Project, you can meet with members of the Sketchbook Committee and the ISBA Committee for chat and advice in the Curvilinear room from 2.30 to 4.00pm.

Sketchbook key dates!

Pages for sketchbooks are to be handed in at our AGM which will probably be held in March 2020.

We have a date pencilled in for the Sketchbook exhibition: it will be held in November 2020 in the National Botanic Gardens. This exhibition will showcase the botanical artist’s sketchbook.

Small works at the exhibition

As you know members who participate in the Sketchbook project will also be invited to hang one piece of finished work at the 2020 exhibition. The work should be no larger than 500mm x 550mm framed.

Opportunities for ISBA members

Spring is in the air, and along with the lengthening days and warmer temperatures, we’re receiving new opportunities for ISBA members.


Firstly, the call is open for entries to Botanical and Floral Art at Bloom. The deadline is 29 March 2019. You can keep up to date on Facebook or on the Bloom website.


We’ve been contacted by a number of different organisations/galleries here in Ireland with queries about possible collaboration. Below we’ve listed three such opportunities. We’re leaving it up to members to contact any of the organisations themselves. If you do decide to contact them and all goes well, do let us know!


Old Weir Lodge Hotel, Killarney – Contact: Niall O’Donoghue
email: info@oldweirlodge.com
This is a small hotel in Killarney which is currently being renovated.  They would like to feature some prints of native plants on their corridor walls. Ideally the prints would be similarly sized (approx A3 portrait or square).


Excel Exhibition Space, Tipperary – Contact: Carissa Farrell
email: carissafarrell@tipperary-excel.com
Carissa is the Venue Director of the Excel in Tipperary Town which has a gallery and would be very interested in holding a group botanical art exhibition in 2019.


Shanbally House and Gardens – Herb Dispensary
Also in Tipperary, Shanbally House and Gardens is currently under restoration. As part of their work they plan to create a small herbarium and they would like to collaborate with botanical artists–who have an interest in medicinal herbs–to create some artwork that will showcase in the house, can be sold in the house and made into cards/notepaper etc. They would like the artwork to complement the work they are doing of growing, promoting, preserving and processing these healing plants. We’re in contact with Shanbally House at the moment with a view to their providing a tour for interested members in the summer. Once dates have been arranged, we’ll announce the event here on the website and will be in touch directly via our members’ email list.

Éireannach goes west…

Paintings from our Botanical Art Worldwide exhibition, Éireannach, are currently on display at the North Mayo Heritage Centre. You can combine a visit to the exhibition–which runs until 31 October–with the upcoming Enniscoe Biodiversity Blitz:

To find out more check the Centre’s press release and the agenda for the day.

AGM, Orchids, Éireannach, Courses, Bloom… Busy Times!

March and April have been very busy times for the ISBA; our AGM in March saw our chair for the last two years, Jane Stark, step down, passing the baton (or should that be the paintbrush) to Lynn Stringer. Jane didn’t sit back though as she has spent most of her time since then on the design, layout and typesetting of the book that will accompany our Botanical Art Worldwide exhibition: Éireannach: Celebrating Native Plants of Ireland. To find out more about the progress of the project, and how to buy the book, check the latest update on our Éireannach project page.

April sees us hosting An Evening Celebration of Orchids in Botanical Art , part of a series of orchid events at the National Botanic Gardens in April, including an exhibition of paintings by Deborah Lambkin and Margareta Pertl, both ISBA members. Check out the event on our calendar page.

If all these events have whetted your appetite to learn more about the practice of Botanical Art, two of our members are providing tuition in two very different locations in April and May. Yanny Petters will hold a two-day course in Wicklow in April and Jane Stark a five-day course in the Burren in May.

May will see our Éireannach exhibition open on the 5th, with an open day on the Worldwide Day of Botanical Art on the 18th.

And in June, there will be an exhibition of Botanical Art at Bloom. Those who submitted their work for this exhibition should hear by the end of April whether their submissions have been accepted.

An Evening Celebration of Orchids in Botanical Art

We’ll be hosting An Evening Celebration of Orchids in Botanical Art in association with the Dublin Orchid Fair at 6.30 pm Friday 20 April 2018, in the Visitor Centre of the National Botanic Gardens. The evening will feature a talk:

The RHS Orchid Committee and its artists: a history of the RHS orchid award paintings

A talk by Clare Hermans, Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Orchid Committee, author of many articles and co-author of Orchids of Madagascar and a research fellow of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. 

The talk was originally given at the World Orchid Conference held in Ecuador last November.

The talk will be followed by a wine reception and  a tour of:

Three Threads – of the orchid tapestry created by Frederick William Moore – an exhibition.

Organised by staff of the National Botanic Gardens, it features archival material from the Library at Glasnevin, orchid paintings by Deborah Lambkin (an ISBA member and official artist to the RHS’s Orchid Committee), and a collection of orchid portraits that celebrate Frederick Moore, painted by Margareta Pertl (also an ISBA member). The exhibition runs from Saturday 29 March to Wednesday 25 April.

Painting of orchid, Coelogyne mooreana, by Margareta Pertl

Coelogyne mooreana, by Margareta Pertl

There is no admission charge and all are welcome, but we would be grateful if those who wish to attend would email isba.committee@gmail.com and include the number of guests attending.

The Dublin Orchid Fair takes place Saturday 21st April and Sunday 22nd April and will be held in the Teak House at Glasnevin. This is the premier annual orchid event in Ireland, with a selection of species and hybrids for sale. It promises to be an exciting weekend for orchid lovers, gardeners and botanical artists alike.

Éireannach – Judging in January

Our judges are meeting on 29 January to assess all the submitted paintings, which are being safely stored in the Library of the National Botanic Gardens. The judges will decide which paintings will hang in the exhibition that takes place from 5 to 27 May in the National Botanic Gardens. As well as paintings for the exhibition, the judges will choose paintings for a digital slideshow which will be seen at other botanical art exhibitions all around the world.  Many countries are taking part in Botanical Art Worldwide and we will be seeing some of their paintings at our own exhibition via the digital slideshow. Artists will be notified as soon as possible after the judges make their decisions.

We will produce a high-quality catalogue to accompany the exhibition and this is already in process.  We hope to find sponsorship for the book. The exhibition will open with a wine reception on 5 May; we are awaiting confirmation of our guest speaker to open the show: watch this space! On 18 May, which is the Worldwide Day of Botanical Art, we will hold an open day and we encourage everyone to bring along family and friends and to spread the word.  Zoe Devlin has kindly agreed to guide a wildflower tour of the paintings. The exhibition closes on 26 May and we’ll be taking down the paintings on 27 May. For more details, see our Éireannach project page.

Éireannach – Hand-In Day 18 November

Hand-In Day is close! We will be accepting painting submissions from 12:30-1:30pm on 18 of November 2017, before Charles Nelson’s talk, at the  Lecture Theatre, National Botanic Gardens. For more information, check our Éireannach project page.

George Du Noyer at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

Stones, Slabs and Seascapes: George Du Noyer’s Images of Ireland

17 November 2017–24 February 2018

An artist imbued with a keen appreciation of the sciences—particularly geology, botany and zoology, George Victor Du Noyer was born into a Huguenot family in Dublin in 1817.

Over the course of a half century, he travelled the length and breadth of Ireland, sketching and recording as he went. Thousands of drawings and sketches by him are preserved in the libraries and archives of institutions such as the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Society of Antiquaries in Ireland. In the National Botanic Gardens are exquisite watercolours of Irish
apple varieties, roses and other botanical specimens.

Apples painted by Georges Du Noyer in 1837.

Apples painted by Georges Du Noyer in 1837. Picture courtesy of National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin

In celebration of Du Noyer’s extraordinary achievements, and to commemorate the bi-centenary of his birth, the Crawford Art Gallery will host a major survey exhibition, featuring over one hundred and fifty watercolours and drawings. Opening in November 2017 and continuing until the end of February, 2018, the exhibition will be curated by Peter Murray, former Director of the Crawford Art Gallery, in collaboration with Petra Coffey and the Geological Survey of Ireland.

Although best known as a geologist, Du Noyer called himself ‘a labourer in the field of science’, and from an early age he laboured well: the two beautiful botanical paintings shown here are dated 1837, and so were painted when he was only twenty years old.

Fungi painted by Georges Du Noyer in 1837.

Fungi painted by Georges Du Noyer in 1837. Picture courtesy of National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin

As the name of the exhibition implies, the works on display will focus primarily on landscape, rocks and the sea, and it promises to be an exhibition of interest to many of us with an interest in the natural history and a wonderful opportunity to see a slice of Irish art and science history.

To find out more, visit the Crawford Gallery description of the exhibition.

Events

Sceitse, Sketchbook Exhibition

[Sketchbook page by ISBA Member Loredana Geninazza]

A celebration of Irish gardens, a celebration of botanical art.

What lies behind the beautiful illustrations and artwork produced by today’s botanical artists? How much time and research goes into a particular plant portrait? Come to the Visitor’s Centre at the National Botanic Gardens to see for yourself! In 2019, ISBA artists spent time in gardens all over the country and recorded their research, their drawings, their colour-matching skills and their test compositions. We’ve compiled these sketchbook pages into a unique exhibition that provides insights into how botanical portraits are made.

As well as the sketchbooks, which are for exhibition only, the participating artists will have small works on display and for sale.