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An Introduction to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art

The Gallery Team
12 July 2010
Read about the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew, the world's first continuously open gallery dedicated to botanical art.

Welcome to the first blog entry from the exhibitions team who are based in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art and the Marianne North Gallery, two very different galleries which are joined together and provide a centre for botanical art at Kew.

The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art and the Marianne North Gallery at Kew

The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art opened in April 2008 and since then it has been a very busy two years of work for everyone involved. We have displayed eight inspiring exhibitions containing paintings from a wide range of collections from all over the world. The gallery, which was funded with the generous support of Dr Shirley Sherwood and the Sherwood family, was designed by the award-winning architects Walters and Cohen. The building was specifically designed to display unique artworks and artefacts in a controlled environment and is a valuable addition to Kew, enabling us to showcase collections which until now have been in storage. 

A rare opportunity to see the treasures of the Mutis Collection 


'Clematis mutisii', © Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid

 We are really thrilled about our current exhibition Old and New South American Botanical Art, especially as it contains many previously unseen works from the Mutis Collection which we are fortunate to have on loan from the  Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid. This is an incredibly rare opportunity to see these 18th century illustrations, which will only be on show until 8 August 2010.

To compliment these historic paintings, we also have on display the beautiful contemporary illustrations from the Sherwood Collection. These include six paintings (and some sketch book pages from the Kew Collections) by the explorer and conservationist Margaret Mee, who spent 30 years painting and drawing plants from the Brazilian rainforest, many of which are now extinct due to habitat destruction.



Margaret Mee's paint box is on display in the gallery

Events in the Gallery

We often hold a range of events inspired by our exhibitions, including demonstrations, talks and tours. A list of these events can be found in the exhibitions listing and Kew Magazine.

We hope that you enjoyed our introduction to the galleries at Kew. We hope to be back soon to introduce you to the team. However, if you have any enquires, please contact the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art by email: or telephone: 020 8332 3622. 

Old and New South American Botanical Art’ runs from Saturday 08 May - Sunday 08 August 2010 and is open daily from 0930 - 1730.

- Sian, Joanne & Jessica -


Further information


22 August 2010
Well done Sian and the girls, very informative. Fantastic collection and will be visiting again very soon!
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