Modern Masterpieces of Botanical Art – The Shirley Sherwood Collection

16 November 2019 to 15 March 2020

Release date: 9 September 2019

  • Exhibition to showcase Collection highlights of 150 paintings displayed across six gallery spaces.
  • Launch of new book about Collection written by Dr Shirley Sherwood, with a foreword by Sir Peter Crane.
  • Dr Sherwood to receive the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) ‘2019 International Award of Excellence in Conservation’ for her lifelong work.

The Exhibition

Celebrating 30 years of the Shirley Sherwood Collection, this new exhibition shows exquisite paintings from an international roster of artists. Split into geographical regions, the exhibition fills six gallery spaces, including one dedicated to works by artists from the British Isles.

Since 1990 Dr Sherwood has built one of the most important private contemporary botanical art collections in the world, comprising over 1,000 works by 303 artists from 36 countries.

The Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew is the first public gallery in the world dedicated to botanical art, and last year welcomed its one millionth visitor.

Kew Publishing, The Shirley Sherwood Collection - Modern Masterpieces of Botanical Art

Showcasing the beauty and diversity of the Collection, this new book features 265 botanical paintings by 144 artists from 36 countries. The paintings are arranged in chapters by geographical origin of the artists, and each artwork is beautifully reproduced on a single page.

Many of the artists are from the British Isles but there are also impressive and varied paintings from Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Australia, Russia, South Africa and the United States. The many ways used to create plant portraits are explored in watercolour, pen and ink, oils, diamond point etching on paper, vellum, glass and canvas.

The book is available to order online for £35 at 

Dr Shirley Sherwood receives BRIT® 2019 International Award of Excellence in Conservation

Dr Shirley Sherwood has been given this award for her lifelong work in botany through the collection, preservation, and exhibition of botanical art. She has been credited for generating a revival of interest in botanical art across the world. Dr Sherwood is the twenty-fifth recipient of the award.

Maria Devaney, Galleries & Exhibition Leader at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said:

“We are honoured to be associated with, and to have the unique opportunity to work with Dr Shirley Sherwood in sharing her collection of contemporary botanical art with our visitors. We feel that botanical art has a vital role to play in sharing the plant and fungal knowledge of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The ‘Masterpieces of Botanical Art’ exhibition will look back on what Dr Sherwood has achieved in bringing the collection together, and celebrate the important contribution to science and art made by the artists. We would also like to congratulate Dr Sherwood on her well-deserved award.”


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

Notes to Editors

About Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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 2.3 million visits every year. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrates its 260th anniversary in 2019. 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.

About the Botanical Research Institute of Texas

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) is a nonprofit, international research and education organization that collects and safeguards plant specimens, studies and protects living plants, and teaches about the importance of conservation and biodiversity to the world. Created in 1995, the International Award of Excellence in Conservation honors individuals and organizations that exemplify the ideals expressed in BRIT's mission of conservation and education. Honorees include scientists, conservationists, heads of state, philanthropists, Pulitzer Prize winners, politicians and other notables. BRIT is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is free. For more information, visit