Back in 1994, I was delighted that the American botanical artist Jean Emmons agreed to illustrate my book, Hardy Perennials. I’m sure that her drawings introducing the four seasonal sections of the book (below right, click to enlarge), and also illustrating individual plants, played a big part in the book winning the Garden Book of the Year Award. Many American readers will also know her work from her illustrations for the front cover of the early Heronswood nursery catalogs .
And just this week I was again so pleased to see that her painting of a Pacific Coast Iris, from the Royal Horticultural Society's own collection, is leading off the gorgeous article on botanical painting (left, click to enlarge) in the RHS magazine The Garden. And they’ve put the whole piece online so anyone anywhere can see it.
Written by Ian Hodgson, formerly editor of The Garden and one of the great garden magazine editors of his generation, the piece shows us an impressive range of plant studies chosen from the RHS’s 30,000 strong collection. From tulips painted in 1630 to rhubarb roots from 2011, the range is astonishing.
And these superlative paintings really do bring out the character of the plants: the auricula, the hydrangea and even the red cabbage.
Anyway… It’s great to see features like this one from The Garden made available online to everyone. The RHS is a charity and making material like this available to the wider world - and not just to its paid-up members - is part of its raison d’être. Check back at the magazine’s website every month for more.
And be sure to take a look at Jean Emmons’s website where, as well as gallery of her breathtaking work, you can discover just how many awards she’s won! And you can also order my book, Hardy Perennials, with her lovely pen-and-ink illustrations (right, click to enlarge), from amazon.com in North America and from amazon.co.uk in Britain.