Skip to main content
You are here
Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

Botanical Art in the 21st Century - 8 February to 10 August 2014

A new exhibition, Botanical Art in the 21st Century, celebrates the remarkable worldwide renaissance of botanical art today.

18 February 2014

A new exhibition, Botanical Art in the 21st Century, celebrates the remarkable worldwide renaissance of botanical art today. Both traditional and new painting techniques are illustrated in this display of exquisite contemporary botanical exhibits by artists from around the world.

This show is a modification of the exhibition Botanical Art into the Third Millennium shown last year at the Museo della Grafica, Pisa, and includes paintings from the extensive Shirley Sherwood Collection, together with recent works by Italian artists, some having never previously exhibited in the UK.

Outstanding plant portraits and meticulous studies demonstrate the breadth and depth of botanical art, illustrating how artists are using different media and new techniques to develop the genre into the 21st century. Life-sized or vastly magnified subjects are on display in this exhibition, including Catharine Nicholson’s stunning pen and ink drawing ‘some get more eaten up than others’ Norway Spruce cones – magnified x 7 which when observed up close morphs into an otherworldly landscape. Kimiyo Maruyama’s Pinus palustris is a feat of attention to detail; a painstakingly painted watercolour which leaves you enraptured at her patience and skill.

Botanical Art in the 21st Century aims to showcase just how exciting the future is for botanical art.

The exhibition at The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art will run throughout spring and summer when a stroll through the Gardens is surely the perfect accompaniment to this botanical display. Enjoy wonderful bulbs and blossoms and fully immerse yourself in the explosive colour and scents of the Gardens after absorbing all that the gallery has to offer this season. Use our spring colour bulbwatch map to plan your visit

Paintings of Magnolias by Barbara Oozeerally are also featured in this exhibition and are on display in two of the gallery spaces until 3rd August 2014. Paintings from Overleaf by the award-winning botanical artist Susan Ogilvy, delicately depicting a range of leaves selected from trees across the temperate regions of Europe and North America, will also be exhibited until 10th August.

Overleaf by Richard Ogilvy and Susan Ogilvy, published by Kew, is available to buy at Kew’s online shop

Magnolias in Art and Cultivation is the stunning new book produced by Kew Publishing in association with the Royal Horticultural Society, and accompanies the exhibition in The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. This truly unique volume will be sought after by gardener and artist alike.

Over 150 botanical paintings by award winning artist Barbara Oozeerally capture the magnolia in breathtaking detail in this book. Described by botanical art collector Dr Shirley Sherwood as ‘an extraordinary series of important and beautiful plant portraits’, Barbara has been working on this collection of paintings for the past five years, taking her to gardens and estates worldwide.

‘For me, nearly every painting in this book tells a story. As I look at them, I’m flooded with memories of places visited and people met’ - Barbara Oozeerally.

To accompany the paintings is the informative text by Jim Gardiner, Director of Horticulture at the Royal Horticultural Society, and Stephen A. Spongberg, Curator Emeritus of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and Director Emeritus of the Polly Hill Arboretum. The text provides a variety of information about magnolias and their cultivation, covering all hardy species and around 100 hybrids and cultivars, together with full botanical descriptions.

‘This superb collection of illustrations highlights for me the importance of botanical illustration as an art form, the enduring qualities of fine-art publishing, and the value of friends who have a common interest’. – Jim Gardner

About the authors

Barbara Oozerally is a botanical artist and has won many awards including two RHS gold medals; Botanical Merits from the Society of Botanical Artists in London and The Horticultural Society of New York, and silver medal from the Kirstenbosch Biennial Exhibition of Botanical Art.

Jim Gardiner is Director of Horticulture at the Royal Horticultural Society, and for 22 years prior was the Curator of RHS Garden Wisley, as well as having worked as curator of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, and the City of Liverpool Botanic Gardens. He has written books including Magnolias: A Gardener’s Guide and The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs.

Stephen A. Spongberg is Curator Emeritus of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and Director Emeritus of the Polly Hill Arboretum, of which he was founding director. He is a winner of the prestigious RHS Veitch Memorial Medal.


For press enquiries please contact the Press Office: 020 8332 5607 / 
Notes to editors
To request further information and review copies please contact Lydia White on 020 8332 5751 or email

More about the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art -

Images of the Gallery are available to download from - Please contact the press office for a username and password.

Title: Magnolias in Art and Cultivation
Authors: Barbara Oozeerally, Jim Gardiner and Stephen A. Spongberg
Imprint: Kew Publishing in association with the Royal Horticultural Society
Specification: 330 x 250 mm (13 ¼ x 10 in.)
Page extent: 268p
Illustrations: 150 full colour botanical paintings
Format:        Hardback
Publication date: February 2014
Price: £90.00
ISBN: 978 1 84246 499 1
Rights: © The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class Herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction. Its landscaped 132 hectares and RBG Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst Place, attract over 1.5m visits every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst Place is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives approximately half its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

Kew Publishing

Kew Publishing is the publishing arm of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Over 20 new titles are produced each year, catering for diverse readerships, from scientists and academics to the general public of all ages. We aim to inspire and educate people about Kew’s plant science and conservation work and to make available Kew’s unique heritage and collections, knowledge and cutting edge expertise to as wide an audience as possible throughout the world.

About the RHS

The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 210 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262