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Time for a change

Joanne Seaton
24 June 2011
Find out about the Gallery team's work and how they are preparing for the upcoming exhibition in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, at Kew Gardens.

Recent events in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art have included the end of our first selling exhibition, new exhibition installation and gallery event with artist Masumi Yamanaka.

Botanical art demonstration

To mark the end of our exhibition ‘From Eye to Hand’, we invited Kew artist Masumi Yamanaka to the Gallery to provide visitors with a free botanical art demonstration. Masumi brought along several examples of her work to demonstrate the different techniques and skills involved in botanical illustration and spent the day painting a live specimen. Despite the weather, the event was well attended by those keen to observe and learn more about this beautiful and specialised art form.

This is part of a wider series of gallery events; we are currently planning events for later in the year so look out for further details on the gallery web pages.

Masumi at work

A successful first selling exhibition

In June we installed our latest exhibition ‘Plants in Peril’ in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. Since the Gallery opened in April 2008, we have hosted a changing programme of exhibitions featuring works from the historic Kew Collection, the contemporary Sherwood Collection as well as collaborations with solo artists and societies. This was our seventh installation after the end of a successful first selling exhibition, which featured works from associated Kew artists alongside artists from Hampton Court Florilegium Society and the Leicestershire Society for Botanical Illustrators. Everyone involved with the planning and execution of ‘From Eye to Hand’ has been very pleased with its popularity, which was confirmed by the positive feedback we received from visitors. 

Wrapped paintings, awaiting collection

Exhibition changeover

Each installation process follows a similar structure; depending on the number of components to an exhibition, the out-going paintings are prioritised, removed from the walls and are prepared for packing. The condition of each painting and its frame are checked, with the reports prepared on original arrival into the Gallery, and only then can they be collected or couriered back to their owners. Every wall requires repairing, cleaning and repainting and there are the large amounts of vinyl lettering that has to be picked off by hand.

Removing vinyl lettering

The new paintings will arrive, usually from more than one source, such as Kew’s library, Dr Sherwood’s Collection (held off-site) or from an external institution. On their arrival the collections are catalogued and condition reports are collated before the exhibition layout is determined. Considerations such as size, colour and style of the paintings are key factors when arranging the layout. Once the paintings are hung, the final elements are completed which includes labelling them, applying the vinyl wall text and information panels, as well as installing the showcase material primarily from Kew’s Library Art and Archives and the Economic Botany Collection. Finally, a specialist lighting company is brought in to ensure that the light levels are customised to each exhibition and are set to a level of 50 lux to protect the artwork on display.

Attaching mirror plates to new paintings

For details on our gallery events or current exhibition please visit our webpage or contact us on 020 8332 3622 or email us.

- Joanne -



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