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.

Awards and accolades!

Painting of Teasel for Finches by Yanny Petters

Teasel for Finches, Copyright 2017 Yanny Petters

As all our members know, the ISBA is about supporting and encouraging all our artists and members as they practise and learn more about botanical art and illustration. Our projects and exhibitions to date have been based on this approach and we don’t generally feature awards as an integral part of our exhibition process.

But! we are always delighted when our members’ work is valued by their peers and by independent juries and in this post we’ve rounded up some of the awards and accolades received by our members over the last few months. We’re proud to see how well ISBA artists are doing both at home and abroad. Congratulations to all of them!

Most recently, Yanny Petters learnt that her Verre Eglomisé painting, Teasel for Finches–which was acquired by the Dr. Shirley Sherwood Collection last year–will be part of a new exhibition, ‘Abundance – Seeds, Pods and Autumn Fruits’ at Kew Gardens, London, from now until March 2018. Visit the Kew Gardens site for more information.

Earlier in the Autumn, Shevaun Doherty‘s painting on vellum of Prunus domestica ‘Victoria’  was awarded the Joanna Craig McFeely Cup for Botanical Illustration, a Certificate of Botanical Merit and a Highly Commended for the Joyce Cumming’s Award, all at the (British) Society of Botanical Artists annual exhibition in Westminster London in October. This same painting was awarded Best in Show and a Gold Medal earlier this year at Bloom in the Park Botanical Art exhibition (scroll down to see the other awards at Bloom).

Painting of Phormium tenax byMary Dillon

Phormium tenax, Copyright 2017 Mary Dillon

Across the Atlantic, Mary Dillon was awarded the Best in Show by her peers at the American Society of Botanical Artists annual exhibition – “From Garden Gate to Golden Gate” for her painting of  Phormium tenax  for which she also received the Anne Marie Carney Award for best painting in an inaugural international exhibition.

Bloom in the Park , 2017 – Awards

Gold Medal
Shevaun Doherty  – Prunus domestica ‘Victoria’
Siobhán Larkin – Gerbera x hybrida
Holly Somerville  – Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Black Tulip

Silver Gilt Medal
Lynn Stringer – Chamerion augustifolium

Silver Medal
Holly Somerville – ‘Turning’
Nayana Sandur – ​Cocos nucifera

Painting of Prunus domestica 'Victoria' by Shevaun Doherty

Prunus domestica ‘Victoria’  by Shevaun Doherty at the Bloom Botanical Art Exhibtion, June 2017

Bronze Medal
Siobhan Larkin – Papaver somniferum
Lynn Stringer – Rosa ‘William Lobb’
Shevaun Doherty – Citrus reticulata
Jane Stark – Sarracenia leucophylla

Best Painting in Show
Prunus domestica ‘Victoria’ – by Shevaun Doherty

And see also our post earlier this year about a collective ISBA entry being awarded a silver medal at the RHS Malvern show.

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.

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.

ISBA Artists awarded Silver Medal at RHS Malvern Spring Festival

Featuring six artists showing six paintings of Heritage Irish Plants, the ISBA’s first collective entry to the RHS–at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival–was awarded a Silver Medal.

RHS silver medal award

A Silver Medal for the society’s first RHS exhibit. Congratulations to all six artists

Each exhibit is judged by a panel of experts according to specific criteria including: scientific accuracy, botanical information, artistic skill – draughtsmanship and painterly skills, as well as the overall presentation of the display and unity of the pictures. All six paintings must be executed to the same standard.

six paintings of irish heritage plants

The common theme of the six paintings was, of course, Heritage Irish Plants!

The six artists, and their plants, are:

  • Niamh Harding Miller; Erica cinerea ‘Ted Oliver’
  • Siobhán Larkin; Iris ‘War and Peace’
  • Rona Orchard;  Narcissus ‘Paradigm’ and ‘Greek Surprise’
  • Susan Sex; Dahlia ‘Aggie White’
  • Holly Somerville; Iris lazica ‘Turkish Blue’
  • Margaret Walsh Best; Narcissus ‘Soft Focus’

Well done and congratulations to all!

printed cards of the paintings

This was the ISBA’s first collective exhibit at an RHS show and a great way to bring the Society and our six artists to a wider and informed audience

All the paintings are of course featured in the Heritage Irish Plants, Plandaí Oidhreachta book; visit our projects page to find out more.