The Floralists

What lovely weather we’ve been having – the sun has been shining and as the blossom is beginning to grace our trees and hedgerows, it feels like a good time to discover more about the Wiltshire’s creative people who use flora as their inspiration.

Ann Swan lives in Rowde. Her impressive range of detailed botanical work has been extremely successful, winning her awards such as the RHS Award and the Karisma Award at the UK Coloured Pencil society Exhibition in 2002. She has also exhibited at Kew gardens. “Ann works primarily in graphite and coloured pencil and is well known for her exquisitely fine detail, vibrant colours and strong contemporary style.  She champions the underdog in the plant world, drawing our attention to Brussels sprouts or beetroots feeling they are just as beautiful as the iris or tulip.”

Ann Swan's 'Sunflower'
Ann Swan’s ‘Sunflower’

Cook’s first voyage on HMS Endeavour (1768-1771) was the first devoted exclusively to scientific discovery, and The Botany Library at the Natural History Museum holds all of the surviving botanical artwork from Captain James Cook’s first Pacific voyage. The collection includes the work of artists Sydney Parkinson, John Frederick Miller and Frederick Polydore Nodder. Their works feature in the finished watercolours made during and after the voyage, between 1773 and 1784, but only Parkinson sailed on the ship and produced the first sketches of the plants which were encountered and collected.

Early female endeavours into botanical art came from Maria Sibylla Merian from Amsterdam, one of the greatest of all botanical illustrators. Aged 52, she set sail for Surinam, a Dutch colony in South America, using her two years there to study the rich variety of flowers and insects. She drew on vellum, later engraving and hand painting her drawings for her first publication Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium in 1705.

Rosalind Robinson is a Chippenham based artist and a member of the ‘Calne Artists’ as well as being a member of the Traditional Paint Forum and the Bath Society of Botanical Artists. She has exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Watercolour Society and at the Royal West of England Academy, winning the Illustration Award in 2011.

Wendy Trinder moved to Froxfield/Market Lavington about 10 years ago but she has painted in the county since the 1980s. Wendy was elected a founder member of the Society of Botanical Artists in 1986 and is a member of the Society of Women Artists. She annually exhibits in London and also as a member of the Society of Botanical Artists in Westminster Central Hall. She has had her work accepted in exhibitions by the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, the New English Art Club, Pastels Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers and has also designed and illustrated stationery for Harrods and Ling Cards. Lyn Armstrong is a member of the Guild of Wiltshire Artists and is best known for her flower paintings.

And whilst we are thinking flora, Wiltshire also has within its borders a very innovative florist. Ted Martin works from Tisbury and has created some stunning designs, including a Christmas wreath made with Brussel sprouts. Sally Page (who has also worked with Ted) has produced some beautiful illustrated books to document the life of Ted Martin Flowers which we hold here at the History Centre.

Enjoy the beauty of the floral world!

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