Mark Frith, Fredville Oak, Kent © Kew Collection, bequeathed by the Estate of Felix Dennis > About our organisation > Press and media > Press releases > Four New Exhibitions Coming to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art

Four New Exhibitions Coming to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art

This October, the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art plays host to four remarkable exhibitions, continuing an exciting year in celebration of its tenth anniversary. From Mark Frith’s striking exploration of Britain’s oaks to the Rankafu prints on display for the first time outside of Japan, the gallery is set to come alive with impeccably detailed works of art, in four distinct styles. 6 October 2018 to 17 March 2019.
Release date: 
17 September 2018

Mark Frith: A Legacy of Ancient Oaks 

This series of 20 highly intricate, large-scale graphite drawings by Mark Frith depicts Britain’s most characterful veteran oaks, many of which are more than 1,000 years old. Each breath-taking portrait shows the tree in its winter form, highlighting the architectural beauty of its trunk, bark and branches – the result of a millennium of growth.Originally commissioned by publisher, poet, and philanthropist, Felix Dennis, ten of the drawings are on loan from the Heart of England Forest, and ten are now part of Kew’s collections.

Trees: Delight in the Detail 

In contrast to Mark Frith’s portraits of the oak, these exquisite works focus on the smaller details of trees, such as their leaves, seeds, cones and fruits. Selected from the Shirley Sherwood Collection, the works feature close-ups of palms, pines, oaks and other deciduous species.Expect to find acorns from Japan, Borneo and the Jura, fruit from great trees found in the Amazon and Africa, and some remarkable paintings of pine needles from the USA.

Botanical Theatre: the art of Pandora Sellars (1936-2017)

Explore the colourful and impeccably detailed plant portraits by one of the world’s most important botanical painters. Pandora’s complex compositions have been described as ‘botanical theatre’ and highlight her outstanding ability to convey texture, light and colour with incredibly lifelike accuracy.

The exhibition represents some of the key aspects of Pandora’s output with examples from the Kew and Shirley Sherwood Collections, as well as loans from RHS Lindley Library, The Postal Museum and various private collections. 

Rankafu: Masterpieces of Japanese Woodblock Prints of Orchids

Discover vibrant woodblock prints of orchids, published in 1946, that are based on the watercolours of Zuigetsu Ikeda. The Rankafu prints are considered masterpieces in this technically demanding artform, and this display at Kew is believed to be the first major exhibition of the Rankafu woodblock colour prints outside of Japan. 
The Rankafu Collection (Ran-ka-fu = ‘Orchid Flower Album’) is on loan from the Collection of Stephen Kirby.


For images and more information please contact the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email

Notes to Editors

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections 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 and a top London visitor attraction. Kew’s 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, attract over 2.1 million visits every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives approximately one third of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.

Heart of England Forest

“Whosoever plants a tree, winks at immortality” - Felix Dennis

Mark Frith was supported in his endeavour by publisher, poet, philanthropist and planter of trees, the late Felix Dennis. Equally passionate about these magnificent veterans, Dennis commissioned the twenty drawing series.

Completed just before Felix Dennis’s death in June 2014, his estate bequeathed ten of the twenty drawings to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the remaining ten drawings were bequeathed to Felix Dennis's charity, the Heart of England Forest.

The Heart of England Forest is a Registered Charity with the charitable objective of creating a 30,000 acre native broadleaf forest in the heart of England. The Forest stretches along the Warwickshire/Worcestershire border from the Ancient Forests of Arden and Feckenham to the Vale of Evesham. We acknowledge the support of the Heart of England Forest in the presentation of this exhibition. 

Gallery opening times:

  • 6 Oct - 27 Oct 10am to 5pm, with last admission at 4.45.
  • 28 Oct - 20 Nov 10am to 3.30pm, with last admission at 3.15.
  • 21 Nov - 5 Jan 10am to 3pm, with last admission 2.45.
  • 6 Jan - 31 Jan 10am to 3.30pm, with last admission 3.15.
  • February 10am to 5pm, with last admission at 4.45.

Free entry. For more details, go to and click ‘What’s on’ or call 0208 332 3622.