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NEW ISBA PROJECT LAUNCHED – IRELAND’S NATIVE TREES’

NEW ISBA PROJECT LAUNCHED – IRELAND’S NATIVE TREES’

As life begins to return to normal, the ISBA is thrilled to have launched our new project “Irish Native Trees – Delighting in the Detail.” 

On September 26th we met to launch our new project, which will run until 2023, offering members plenty of time to gather information, make sketches and create beautiful paintings. Focusing on the small details that characterise each of Ireland’s 22 native trees in each distinct season, our artists have undertaken a comprehensive illustration project which will culminate in an exhibition at the National Botanic Gardens in 2023.
As the title, “Delighting in the Detail”, suggests, we will endeavour to draw attention to the smallest of details of our native trees, which often go unnoticed. The result will be a visually exciting, botanically accurate collection of paintings which, we hope, will renew interest and joy in our native species and allow our audience to get to know them intimately in all their detail and in every season.

Further updates will be forthcoming here so do keep in touch. Artist members should contact isba.hon.secretary@gmail.com for project brief, tree choices etc.

For information on membership, please go to www.irishbotanicalartists.ie/membership.

Our previous project, SCEITSE, was somewhat curtailed due to the pandemic. However we are delighted to report that the original works will be exhibited alongside this exhibition and our book, SCEITSE – Irish Botanical Sketchbooks, as well as our other publications, is available to buy at www.irishbotanicalartists.ie/shop.

Illustration: Betula ‘White light’ by Fionnuala Broughan
Photographs by: Niamh Harding-Miller

Launch of SCEITSE – Irish Botanical Sketchbooks

Friday 20 November 2020: the Irish Society of Botanical Artists proudly launch our new book: SCEITSE – Irish Botanical Sketchbooks

The culmination of a two-year project, SCEITSE – Irish Botanical Sketchbooks celebrates the complex journey of botanical artists as they collect information and prepare to illustrate a particular plant. This includes ‘visiting’ plants in their habitat or in gardens, to see them in their natural or intended setting. The sketchbook pages in this collection show the breadth of information a botanical artist may collect, from plant features and measurements, to colour notes and descriptions of the setting.

Irish botanical artists are fortunate to have access to unique and diverse gardens, both public and private, in which to glean information and complete research for their paintings. We have included beautiful pictures and writing from the gardens in which we worked for this project, hoping to celebrate our island’s horticultural treasures and to encourage visitors to seek them out.

Image of two page spread of Foreword by Susan Sex

Foreword by Susan Sex

Do visit our shop to see how you can order your copy of this limited edition. You can also buy our previous publications while stocks last.

Image of two sketchbook pages by Noeleen Frain

Sketchbook pages by Noeleen Frain

The ISBA is a not-for-profit Society and your support allows us to continue our work all over the islandof Ireland, encouraging and promoting botanical art and artists. We welcome both Artist and Friend memberships: visit our Membership page for more details.

For further enquiries, please email isba.committee@gmail.com

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.

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 – 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.

A Grand Day Out: ISBA visit to Burtown House

The inaugural outing of the ISBA was a visit to Burtown House in May 2013, where we were privileged and delighted to meet Wendy Walsh, and were welcomed to Burtown by Wendy’s daughter Lesley Fennell. A group of ISBA artists returned to Burtown House on 13 May 2017 where Lesley made them very welcome and a tour of the garden and studios was enhanced by lunch in the newly opened Green Barn. Here, ISBA member and the Society’s Hon. Secretary Elaine Moore Mackey gives a brief overview of the lovely visit.

A small group of members were lucky enough to visit Burtown on Saturday 13 May and, while the weather wasn’t great, we made the most of the beautiful setting in which we could admire and learn about the work of Wendy Walsh, who lived at Burtown for the last years of her life.

exterior picture of studio

The exterior of the studios where Lesley Fennell works, and where her mother, Wendy Walsh, painted right up to the end of her long life.

Lesley Fennell, Wendy’s daughter and an artist herself, took time to show us the gardens–which she manages with enormous talent and committment–as well as Wendy’s paintings which are exhibited in the Gallery at the Green Barn.

interior of the gallery

Some of Lesley Fennell’s portraits of her mother Wendy Walsh are on display in the gallery

interior of studio, Burtown

A glimpse of the studio where Lesley works

stream and woodland in Burtown

Part of the woodland garden in Burtown

Lesley’s generosity and intimate knowledge of Burtown, her home for many years, allowed our group to experience this lovely place on an intimate level.  Lesley knows every plant, every corner of the garden, and her enthusiasm for plants and of course, for painting, is infectious.

We were so grateful to her for making us welcome, and to see Wendy’s work up close was a real privilege.  The unexpected gift of the visit was to understand and appreciate the long association of Burtown with painting.  Lesley’s own studio, formerly that of her mother, is a living workplace and she extended a genuine invitation to our members to paint in the gardens.

 

I was personally touched by Lesley’s sensitive portraits of Wendy and her own work which celebrates Burtown, her passion for plants, and her home.

irises outside the Green Barn, Burtown

Irises outside the Green Barn

The carrot cake was also decidedly memorable!

To read about our first visit to Burtown in 2013, see this post: Wendy Walsh.

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