Here are 180 plant portraits, spanning 1000 years of this magical art. Botanical art -- part illustration, part scientific documentation -- began in ancient Egypt (depictions have been found on tombs). Today, its artists are attaining new heights in terms of virtuosity. Ageless and modern, some artists capture the beauty of newly-discovered species, others focus on plants because of their healing powers. The originals are highly valued by collectors, the reprints purchased because of our desire to be surrounded by loveliness and nature.
In this magnificent and ever-popular compilation are art of plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The author is Shirley Sherwood, one of the world's foremost experts and collectors. This is an international collection with artists from the Untied Kingdom, Holland, Belgium, Australia, America and elsewhere. The oldest image here is a thistle painted by a monk (circa 1080), one of the most recent, Angela Mirro's painting of a rare Peruvian slipper orchid discovered in 2002. Contrasted with 17th century herbals and 15th century painted flowers bordering illuminated manuscripts are Susannah Blaxill's "Beetroot" and Brigid Edwards' "Onions." More examples come from the hand of John Ruskin (1819-1900). Contemporary artists include Paul Jones and Helga Hislop, Regine Hagedorn and Kate Nessler. Shown, too, are the watercolors of Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826) for the Flora Graeca, from an expedition to the Levant discovering a new species and Maria Sibylla Merian's (1647-1717) travel to Surinam to paint exotic plants and Margaret Mee's (1909-1988) paintings of endangered species of the Amazon rainforest.
Author many books, Dr. Sherwood has been involved with such institutions as the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.