Echinopsis ancistrophora painted by the Margaret Mee Fellowship Programme 2016 Artist Scholar, Alessandro Candidô
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Margaret Mee Fellowship Programme

Training Brazilian botanical artists.

Project details

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Funded (long): 
The MMFP is reliant upon capital that exists from earlier generous support from: The D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, Sir Josiah Colman Trust, Parrott Bequest Fund, The Rhoda Seymour Bequest, and the Centenary Dinner event (in the presence of HRH Prince Phillip).

Objectives and outputs

The Margaret Mee Fellowship Programme (MMFP) enables Brazilian botanical illustrators to study in the UK. In addition, its research fellowships (which ran until late 2005) made a highly significant contribution to the advancement of plant science, sustainability, biodiversity, and the conservation and preservation of the Amazon and Atlantic Rain Forests of Brazil.

The Programme was inspired by Margaret Mee, the world famous botanical artist whose work has done much to draw attention to the importance of the flora of the Amazon rainforest. Sixty of Margaret Mee’s pictures, the ‘Amazon Collection’, were acquired for deposit in perpetuity at Kew, and have been exhibited at Kew, elsewhere in the United Kingdom, France, and in the United States.

Since 1997, the Margaret Mee Amazon Trust (MMAT) and its successor the MMFP (administered by the Foundation and Friends of the RBG Kew), have awarded nearly 130 Fellowships for Brazilians to come to Britain to further their knowledge and research. Selection of research fellowships has, until recently, been carried out on a rolling basis by the Scientific Committee, whereas Artist Scholars were originally selected by the FBMM (Fundação Botânica Margaret Mee) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; this changed in 2015 and is now via online submission judged by a panel in Kew and in Brazil.

Twenty two Artist Scholarships, and 104 Research Fellowships to biologists, have been awarded since the programme was initiated. The Research Fellows have for the most part undertaken their studies in Britain at Kew. In 2005, due to funding restrictions, it was decided that no more scientific research fellowships would be awarded.

A Centenary Dinner event was held during May 2009 through the efforts of William Stancer, in the presence of HRH Prince Phillip, raising additional funding for the programme.

Objectives

  • Promoting the ideals of Margaret Mee, the MMFP currently endeavours to provide funding in any year to enable one Artist Scholar to be tutored, at Kew, for five months by Christabel King.

Outputs

  • Ten plant watercolour portraits from each Artist Scholar.
  • An exhibition of each Artist Scholar's work (their portfolio often including their competition submissions) at the end of their time at Kew.

Partners and collaborators

  • Dra Daniela C. Zappi (Director of Science, Instituto de Pesquisas, Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro – member of grant awards committees)
  • Christabel King (tutor and member of the MMFP Artist Scholar Award Committee)
  • Mr Michael Daly (Secretary of the MMFP, and member of the MMFP Artist Scholar Award Committee)
  • The Hon. Christopher Maclaren (Member of MMFP General Committee)
  • Sir Peter Heap (Member of the MMFP General Committee)

Further information

When matching funding from the Foundation & Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, ceased several years ago, the decision was made to continue funding an annual Artist Scholar from the capital funds remaining. On this basis, we will strive to continue such support for the next five years.