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Who are we?
Botanical illustrators have been associated with research in the National Herbarium of NSW since its opening in 1901. The Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust currently has two botanical illustrators, Lesley Elkan and Catherine Wardrop. Some notable past illustrators were Margaret Flockton and Mary Maiden. You can view works by these artists, as well as work of more recent illustrators, Marion Westmacott, Nicola Oram, David Mackay and Christine Payne in our Illustrators’ Gallery. Click here for information on the Margaret Flockton Award.
What do we do?
The botanical illustrators provide detailed and scientifically accurate illustrations of new and renamed species to complement taxonomic descriptions. Entire scientific ‘plates’ may include the plant’s habit (growth form), details of reproductive structures, and other features relevant to its identification. Often such features can be microscopic. The illustrations are made from either pressed or living plants - collected from the Royal Botanic Gardens or from the wild.
Where are our illustrations published?
Our illustrations are to be found in the Gardens’ journals Telopea and Cunninghamia, the Flora of New South Wales and Flora of Australia series, in various overseas publications, and in numerous field guides, popular books and displays. Soon our current projects Wattleweb and the Rare and Vulnerable Project will be published on-line.
Aside from ‘everyday’ illustrating for scientific papers, there are two major illustration projects currently underway:
In 2001 the Illustration Archive was established to collate and house the Botanic Gardens Trust's historically and scientifically valuable illustration collection. Over 2000 black and white, watercolour and lithographic illustrations from past and current scientific papers have now been scanned and filed systematically. Electronic versions are available to all members of our staff, with higher resolution scans provided for publishing. The Archive is a resource available to other botanical or environmental agencies, or interested individuals. (Please email Catherine Wardrop for details).
Click on the thumbnails to see these illustrations at a larger size.