And it all came together…

It was a very, very busy time for the committee, the artists, the book designer (Jane Stark, thanks Jane!), the editors, the printers, the staff at the National Botanic Gardens (NBG), and fellow artists all over the world, but … it all came together on 18 May, the inaugural Worldwide Day of Botanical Art. In Ireland, we held our ISBA open day on the 18th and artists, friends, those interested in learning more, and visitors to the NBG all came together for a day of workshops, a tour of the paintings, sales of paintings and artists’ merchandise, videos of the exhibitions from around the world, and all in all just a great day.

Our exhibition ran from its opening on 05 May until 27 May, in the Visitor Centre of the NBG and many thanks to the staff there for their support during that time. Many thanks too to Dr Liam Lysaght of the National Biodiversity Data Centre (contributors to our book Éireannach) who opened the exhibition with such a thoughtful talk about the importance of botanical and scientific illustration and art, and how these influenced him as a young boy interested in the natural world around him. We had the chance to thank most of our sponsors in print, in the book itself: do check them out. But one of our generous sponsors didn’t make it into the book, and we’d like to thank them here: the Co. Wexford Garden & Flower Club; Joy Shepherd, one of our artists, and her husband Ernie are members of the club.

What made our approach to the Botanical Art Worldwide project unique was the publication we produced to accompany the exhibition: it includes all our paintings, each one accompanied by a narrative by its artist, plus articles by those involved in conservation and raising awareness about our natural environment, plus articles (and a painting) from each of the other 25 participating countries. We’re delighted to say we weren’t the only ones to think the book was great! See these reviews by Katherine Tyrell on her Botanical Art and Artists blog and Paddy Tobin (of the Irish Garden Plant Society) on this An Irish Gardener blog.

If you’d like to buy the book, visit our online shop or if you live in Ireland, you can buy it in person from any of the following locations:

  • National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
  • Opening Minds Bookshop, Ballinteer, Dublin 16
  • Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, The Corn Store, Middle Street, Galway
  • Johnstown Garden Centre, Johnstown, Naas, County Kildare
  • Tudor Artisan Hub, 42 Main Street, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary
  • North Wicklow Country Market, Newcastle, County Wicklow – Saturday Mornings 10.30 to 12.30am.
  • The Corner Studio, Main Street, Enniskerry, County Wicklow

Here’s a selection of photos from the exhibition.

The opening

Photo of exhibition

Upstairs in the Visitor Centre of the National Botanic Gardens is the beautiful space where we held our exhibition

Photo of the exhibition

Just before the opening… Many thanks to Yanny Petters, Liz Prendergast and Siobhán Larkin for curating the exhibition so beautifully

Photo of Liam Lysaght looking at paintings

Dr Liam Lysaght had time for a private viewing of the exhibition before he officially opened it for us

Photo of the committee and Liam Lysaght

Liam Lysaght, Lynn Stringer, Jane Stark, Yanny Petters, Elaine Moore Mackey, Fionnuala Broughan

Photo of Lynn Stringer

Our chairperson Lynn Stringer gets proceedings off to a good start

Photo of Liam Lysaght and Yanny Petters

Yanny Petters presents Liam Lysaght with a print from the exhibition as thanks from the Society

Photo of people at the exhibition

Gathering to await the official opening

Photo of people viewing the paintings

Enjoying the paintings

Photo of people at the exhibition

…and there was plenty of time to catch up with other artists and friends

A surprise visitor

Partway through the three-week exhibition, we were delighted that the Ambassador of India, Vijay Thakur Singh—seen here talking with Matthew Jebb, Director of the National Botanic Gardens—and her guests visited our exhibition after a talk by Patrick Bowe on the Gardens of India.

Our open day

These are just phone pics that give a flavour of the day: we held artists’ demos in the morning and afternoon (we show just two here), many of the artists were there on the day and we caught just a few of them with their paintings (apologies to those we missed!), and Zoe Devlin, wildflower enthusiast (we say expert) gave a ‘tour’ of the paintings. We sold some more paintings on the day and artists were there to see prints, cards and other nice things… All is all a very successful day.

Photo of artist demo

Noeleen Frain shows some of her coloured pencil techniques. Noeleen also works in watercolour and is a calligrapher.

Photo of artist demo

Shevaun Doherty, a watercolour painter, who loves to work on vellum, shares some of her techniques

photo of Diane Davison with her Ash painting

Diane Davison with her Ash painting

photo of Mary Killion with her Wild Pansy painting

Mary Killion with her Wild Pansy painting

photo of Rita O'Mahony and her Wild Primrose painting

Rita O’Mahony and her Wild Primrose painting

photo fo Patricia Morrison and her Guelder-rose painting

Patricia Morrison and her Guelder-rose painting

photo of Noeleen Frain and her Pyramidal Orchid painting

Noeleen Frain and her Pyramidal Orchid painting

photo of Elaine Moore-Mackey and her Foxglove painting

Elaine Moore-Mackey and her Foxglove painting

photo of Michael Campbell and his Bloody Cranesbill painting

Michael Campbell and his Bloody Cranesbill painting

photo of Allison Walker and her Water Avens painting

Allison Walker and her Water Avens painting

photo of Fionnuala Broughan and her Hawthorn painting

Fionnuala Broughan and her Hawthorn painting

photo of Zoe Devlin giving a tour of the exhibition

Zoe Devlin gives a tour of the exhibition

photo of Zoe and paintings

Zoe talked about the paintings from a wildflower expert’s point of view

May Update

May has arrived and we’re set to go! The official opening of the exhibition and launch of our book take place on Saturday 05 May at 3pm, in the Visitors’ Centre at the National Botanic Gardens. We’ve invited patrons, mentors, the press, and of course all who have supported the artists and the Society along the way. Then on 06 May, the exhibition opens to the public, running from then until the 27th.  On the 18th, which is the Worldwide Day of Botanical Art, all the exhibitions from around the world will be available to see online at our own exhibition. Also on the that day, we’re holding an ISBA Open Day, where you can find out more about the whole project, watch artists’ demonstrations, get a tour of the exhibition with Zoe Devlin, our wildflower expert and mentor.

Poster for Worldwide Day of Botanical Art

April Update

March and April have been very busy months! The paintings have been scanned and are being framed in preparation for our exhibition in the National Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre on 05 May. We’re very pleased to announce that Dr Liam Lysaght, Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre will open the exhibition for us. The online show is ready and a proportion of our paintings will join other beautiful botanical artwork from all around the world. And finally, we’re delighted to say that our book of the exhibition (and so much more) is on its way to the printers.

Éireannach – Celebrating Native Plants of Ireland contains all the plant paintings, along with their stories, researched and written by the artists themselves. (For a full list of the plants and the artists, scroll down to the February Update on this page). This high quality publication opens with an article by Carol Woodin, Director of Exhibitions at the American Society of Botanical Artist, who outlines the genesis and the realisation of the project. Jane Stark, our recently retired chair of the ISBA, takes up the story and outlines the Irish involvement in the project.

A sample page showing Holly Somerville’s painting of Pinguicula grandiflora

We’re also delighted to include articles about several of the environmental organisations that are working to preserve Ireland’s native flora, as well as  an enlightening article on native plants as food and medicine.

Find out more about the organisations that work on our island to cherish and protect our native plants and their habitats

The book also features contributions from all the other participating countries, from Australia to the United States, via such diverse regions as China, Mexico, Germany, Thailand and Ukraine: in all, 25 countries.

Sample pages showing country entries for Japan and Mexico.

Each article includes a sample painting, an overview of the country’s native flora and an account of how the project has been organised and by whom. Very often, as in Ireland, the artists’ societies work in concert with Botanical Gardens or other institutions in their own countries.

The book is already available to purchase from our shop at a special price of €20 from now until the end of our Irish exhibition.

February Update

Many thanks to our judges who worked hard to choose the paintings for the upcoming Éireannach exhibition, part of the Botanical Art Worldwide. The judges have chosen 48 plants, painted by 43 artists. Many thanks to all artists who have taken part in the project so far. Here is the list, sorted by the common name of the plant in English. The list is repeated below sorted by the artist’s last name. You can also download the list as a PDF.

Plant, English Artist Plant, Latin Planda, Gaeilge
Ash Diane Davison Fraxinus excelsior Fuinseog
Bird’s-foot-trefoil Ann Kane Lotus corniculatus Crobh éin
Blackthorn Liz Prendergast Prunus Spinosa Draighean
Bloody Crane’s-bill Michael Campbell Geranium versicolor Crobh stríocach
Bramble Siobhan Larkin Rubus fructicosus Dris
Bush Vetch Helen Noonan Vicia sepium Peasair fhiáin
Common cotton grass Jane Stark Eriophorum angustifolium Ceannbhán
Common Knapweed Shevaun Doherty Centaurea nigra Mínscoth
Common Spotted-orchid Nayana Sandur Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. fuchsii Nuacht bhallach
Cowslip Heather Byers Primula veris Bainne bó bleachtáin
Crab Apple Marie de Lacy Clancy Malus sylvestris Crann fia-úll
Creeping Jenny Janet Colgan Lysimachia nummularia Lus an dá phingin
Elder Grainne Carr Sambucus nigra Trom
Foxglove Elaine Moore Mackey Digitalis purpurea Lus mór
Great Willowherb Marcella Campbell Epilobium hirsutum Lus na Tríonóide
Guelder-rose Patricia Morrison Viburnum opulus Caor chon
Harebell Helen Simmons Campanula rotundifolia Méaracán gorm
Hart’s tongue Niamh Harding Miller Phyllitis scolopendrium Creamh na muice fia
Hawthorn Fionnuala Broughan Crataegus monogyna Sceach gheal
Hazel Giulia Canevari Corylus avellana Coll
Honeysuckle Mary Dillon Lonicera periclymenum Féithleann
Large-flowered Butterwort Holly Somerville Pinguicula grandiflora Leith uisce
Lords-and-ladies Jane Stark Arum maculatum Cluas chaoin
Maidenhair Fern Oonagh Philips Adiantum capillus-veneris Dúchosach
Marsh Helleborine Susan Sex Epipactis palustris Cuaichín corraigh
Marsh Thistle Hazel Beehan Cirsium palustre Feochadán corraigh
Marsh-marigold Janet Bockett Caltha palustris Lus Buí Bealtaine
Meadowsweet Lynn Stringer Filipendula ulmaria Airgead luachra
Navelwort Janet Colgan Umbilicus rupestris Cornán caisil
Primrose Rita O’Mahony Primula vulgaris Sabhaircín
Pyramidal Orchid Noeleen Frain Anacamptis pyramidalis Magairlín na stuaice
Ragged Robin Noeleen Frain Silene flos-cuculi Lus síoda
Red Clover Sally de Bromhead Trifolium pratense Seamair dhearg
Round leaved Sundew Elaine Moore Mackey Drosera rotundifolia Drúchtín móna
Rowan Claudia McManus Sorbus aucuparia Caorthann
Sea Bindweed Tara Lanigan O’Keeffe Calystegia soldanella Plúr an phrionsa
Sea Holly Sarah Lewtas Eryngium maritimum Cuileann trá
Sessile Oak Ida Mitrani Quercus petraea Dair ghaelach
Shepherd’s Purse Jo Cummins Capsella bursa-pastoris Lus an sparáin
Strawberry-tree Sandra McTurk Arbutus unedo Caithne
Thrift Tim Hatatip Armeria maritima Rabhán
Tufted Vetch Joy Shepherd Vicia cracca Peasair na luch
Water Avens Alison Walker Geum rivale Machall uisce
Wild Carrot Betty Christie Daucus carota Mealbhacán
Wild Pansy Mary Killion Viola tricolor ssp. Tricolor Goirmín searraigh
Wild Strawberry Yanny Petters Fragaria vesca Sú talún fiáin
Wood Anemone Ann Burn Anemone nemorosa Lus na gaoithe
Yellow Horned-poppy Lynn Stringer Glaucium flavum Caillichín na trá
Artist Plant, English Plant, Latin Planda, Gaeilge
Hazel Beehan Marsh Thistle Cirsium palustre Feochadán corraigh
Janet Bockett Marsh-marigold Caltha palustris Lus Buí Bealtaine
Fionnuala Broughan Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna Sceach gheal
Ann Burn Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa Lus na gaoithe
Heather Byers Cowslip Primula veris Bainne bó bleachtáin
Marcella Campbell Great Willowherb Epilobium hirsutum Lus na Tríonóide
Michael Campbell Bloody Crane’s-bill Geranium versicolor Crobh stríocach
Giulia Canevari Hazel Corylus avellana Coll
Grainne Carr Elder Sambucus nigra Trom
Betty Christie Wild Carrot Daucus carota Mealbhacán
Janet Colgan Creeping Jenny Lysimachia nummularia Lus an dá phingin
Janet Colgan Navelwort Umbilicus rupestris Cornán caisil
Jo Cummins Shepherd’s Purse Capsella bursa-pastoris Lus an sparáin
Diane Davison Ash Fraxinus excelsior Fuinseog
Sally de Bromhead Red Clover Trifolium pratense Seamair dhearg
Marie de Lacy Clancy Crab Apple Malus sylvestris Crann fia-úll
Mary Dillon Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum Féithleann
Shevaun Doherty Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra Mínscoth
Noeleen Frain Ragged Robin Silene flos-cuculi Lus síoda
Noeleen Frain Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis Magairlín na stuaice
Niamh Harding Miller Hart’s tongue Phyllitis scolopendrium Creamh na muice fia
Tim Hatatip Thrift Armeria maritima Rabhán
Ann Kane Bird’s-foot-trefoil Lotus corniculatus Crobh éin
Mary Killion Wild Pansy Viola tricolor ssp. Tricolor Goirmín searraigh
Tara Lanigan O’Keeffe Sea Bindweed Calystegia soldanella Plúr an phrionsa
Siobhan Larkin Bramble Rubus fructicosus Dris
Sarah Lewtas Sea Holly Eryngium maritimum Cuilleann trá
Claudia McManus Rowan Sorbus aucuparia Caorthann
Sandra McTurk Strawberry-tree Arbutus unedo Caithne
Ida Mitrani Sessile Oak Quercus petraea Dair ghaelach
Elaine Moore Mackey Foxglove Digitalis purpurea Lus mór
Elaine Moore Mackey Round leaved Sundew Drosera rotundifolia Drúchtín móna
Patricia Morrison Guelder-rose Viburnum opulus Caor chon
Helen Noonan Bush Vetch Vicia sepium Peasair fhiáin
Rita O’Mahony Primrose Primula vulgaris Sabhaircín
Yanny Petters Wild Strawberry Fragaria vesca Sú talún fiáin
Oonagh Philips Maidenhair Fern Adiantum capillus-veneris Dúchosach
Liz Prendergast Blackthorn Prunus Spinosa Draighean
Nayana Sandur Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. fuchsii Nuacht bhallach
Susan Sex Marsh Helleborine Epipactis palustris Cuaichín corraigh
Joy Shepherd Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca Peasair na luch
Helen Simmons Harebell Campanula rotundifolia Méaracán gorm
Holly Somerville Large-flowered Butterwort Pinguicula grandiflora Leith uisce
Jane Stark Lords-and-ladies Arum maculatum Cluas chaoin
Jane Stark Common cotton grass Eriophorum angustifolium Ceannbhán
Lynn Stringer Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria Airgead luachra
Lynn Stringer Yellow Horned-poppy Glaucium flavum Caillichín na trá
Alison Walker Water Avens Geum rivale Machall uisce

January Update

Monday 29 January is adjudication day; the judges will be hard at work all day going through the entries. As soon as the decisions are made, we’ll be in touch with artists to let them know the outcomes. Many thanks again and congrats to all who submitted work.

December Update

Congratulations to all who have handed in their paintings!  They are being safely stored in the Library of the National Botanic Gardens.


Our judges hope to meet in early January to decide which paintings will hang in the exhibition that takes place from 5 to 27 May in the National Botanic Gardens.  After the judges make their decision, artists will be notified as soon as possible. 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.

Scanning and Framing

Vincent Sex will be scanning all the artwork for the show; the committee will arrange for framing and each chosen artist will be invoiced for the cost of the frame by ISBA.  Each artist will also be asked to sign a copyright release for permission to use their artwork for the catalogue, to advertise the exhibition and for the digital slideshow. We will produce a high-quality catalogue to accompany the exhibition and this is already in process.   It is hoped 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!

Worldwide Day of Botanical Art, Open Day

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 will be taken down on 27 May.   Please note this date and keep it free to come and collect your painting as there is no storage available in the Botanic Gardens.

We need your help…..

If you feel you can help out in any way, do let us know.  We would be delighted to hear from you! We will need people to work on the digital slideshow, to hang the exhibition, to invigilate, to sell catalogues, to sell sponsorship, to stuff envelopes, to do painting demonstrations, etc. All help gratefully received.

The show runs from 05 to 27 May and we’ll need invigilation every day. We ask all our artists to be as generous with their time as possible!

If you know of any individual, group or company who would be willing to sponsor the catalogue please advise the committee.

If you have not sent in your notes on your painting and your plant, please send them as soon as possible to Jane Stark at   Please remember a maximum of 150 words.


November Update

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.
Please ensure that your painting is signed (we do ask you to please place your signature or mark away from the painted subject, so that it can be digitally obscured for printing purposes), and remember that all paintings should be properly wrapped and protected.
Please provide a sheet with the following information:
  1. Your name and contact details (phone & email)
  2. The name of the plant you have painted
  3. The medium(s) used
  4. The dimensions of the painting
  5. A short (150 words max.) Plant Story, about your plant and its uses, folkloric, medicinal, traditional etc. (please include your name on this document)
Please note that the hand-in will not be an opportunity to critique paintings, as we will have limited time on the day.  We won’t be unwrapping them, just taking them in.  If you need advice or information before the hand-in, please contact Lynn Stringer or Elaine Moore-Mackey asap.

July Update

We have decided on Éireannach as our subtitle for the Botanical Art Worldwide project.   It means ‘of Ireland’ and continues our tradition of using the Irish Language in our exhibitions and publications.

Handing in:

We have decided that Saturday 18 November 2017 will be the last date for receipt of paintings.  Alex Caccamo the Head Librarian at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin has very kindly agreed to receive the finished paintings.   These should be unmounted and unframed.   We suggest covering them with protective paper and cardboard to keep them safe and undamaged.  We are very grateful to Alex, her team and the National Botanic Gardens for their help with this.  We suggest you hand in your paintings throughout the year as you finish them rather than the Library being swamped with a deluge on the closing date!

A team of independent judges will decide on the accepted paintings for the show.  We will hang as many paintings in the exhibition as our Judges deem acceptable.   Forty paintings from the exhibition will then be chosen to be exhibited around the world as a digital slide show.

A few things to note:

Minimum size

We realised that many wild flowers are very tiny (some of you may already have realised this!) so our new minimum size is 15 cm on any one side.   Submitted work should be unmounted and unframed.


We had a couple of questions at our AGM about the project.   One was whether to include habitat or not in the painting.   We have decided to leave this up to each artist’s discretion.   Traditionally this is done in pencil behind the main painting, however pale pencil drawings generally don’t show up very well in scans.   If you would like to include the habitat , the pencil will need to be quite dark or you may like to include the habitat in pen and ink.    However there is absolutely no requirement for this.  It is up to you.


Anne Bebbington’s workshops were held in June, but we have more opportunities for those artists who’d welcome the chance to get support from Deborah Lambkin: check September in our calendar of events for more details.


The 18th of May 2018 has been chosen as the Botanical Art Worldwide day, with many botanical art societies around the world putting on an exhibition on the same day. So far there are fourteen countries taking part including Ireland. Some of the other countries are Australia, America, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, and South Korea.

Exhibitions of original botanical art will be curated by each participating country around the world based on an indigenous or native plants theme. At the same exhibition, images will be shown digitally from concurrent exhibitions from around the world.

With these international exhibitions, we hope to:

  • present a unified message about linking people to plants through botanical art
  • acknowledge and build the increasing connections between botanical artists worldwide
  • increase the appreciation and understanding of the world’s plant diversity and its interconnectedness
  • raise awareness of the worldwide movement in botanical art

Currently our member artists are selecting plants they wish to represent for the exhibition and we’re delighted to say that we have as our mentor for this project Zoe Devlin, author of Wildflowers of Ireland and curator of the excellent online resource of the same name.

We hope that the resulting exhibition in Ireland will run for two to three weeks around 18 May 2018 at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. The exact dates are still to be confirmed. Our exhibition will reflect the folklore and/or medicinal qualities of our native plants. Watch this space for more details!