Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Margaret Flockton Award 2015

The Margaret Flockton Award commemorates the contribution Margaret Flockton made to Australian scientific botanical illustration. The Foundation & Friends of the Botanic Gardens, as a major fundraising organisation and supporter of the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, is pleased to sponsor the Margaret Flockton Award for Excellence in Scientific Botanical Illustration. Through its members, the Foundation & Friends is committed to funding projects that embellish and enrich the four sites of the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, allowing the Trust and its staff to continue to pursue excellence in all that they do. The Foundation & Friends also holds an annual exhibition of botanical art: Botanica 2015 - The Birds and the Bees - see Foundation & Friends Events.

The exhibition

When: Saturday 18 April - Sunday 10 May 2015, daily 10 am-4 pm.
Where: Joseph Maiden Theatre, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney - enter via Woolloomooloo Gate on Mrs Macquaries Road
Cost: Entry to the exhibition is free - selected works for SALE
Enquiries: 02  9231 8111 

Download Indoor venues map, including the Joseph Maiden Theatre 

2015 Winning entries

The renowned and highly-celebrated annual Margaret Flockton Award for botanical illustration was this year won by Edmundo Saavedra Vidal of Mexico against an international field of entries spanning the globe and representing Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland. 

Vidal’s outstanding Syngonium podophyllum — using ink and some graphite as supporting tone — was lauded by the judging panel as ‘a stunningly sensitive work that carefully balances delicate line work and stipple’ (shading).

Vidal has been working as a scientific illustrator at the Instituto de Ecologia AC in Mexico for the past 26 years. In addition to his first prize this year Vidal was also awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ for his Genus Thompsonella.

On being notified of the award Vidal said: ‘I had to read again and again this email in order to believe it ... thanks to the Award my family [will be] able [to] survive much better in these hard times in Mexico’.

Curator Catherine Wardrop said the technique employed by Vidal in the winning illustration surprised even the judges.

‘While the use of graphite would usually be assumed to obscure the printed image, it in fact reproduced beautifully,’ Wardrop said. 

‘The work is a thorough scientific examination of the species … The composition is lovely, with very well considered placement of many features, making it easy to read. 

‘The symmetry and detail of the spadix on the left is mesmerising in its technical prowess.’

Other botanical illustrations receiving recognition in the 2015 Margaret Flockton Award included:

  • Second prize (shared) - Adiantum hispidulum – Pauline Dewar (Victoria)
  • Second prize (shared) - Doryopteris concolor – Klei Sousa (Brazil)
  • Highly Commended - Vriesea carinata – Klei Sousa (Brazil)
The Margaret Flockton Award showcases many of the world’s best botanical illustrators and is unique in the world of scientific illustration competitions. Run by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, the annual Award — now in its 12th year — offers a first prize of $5,000 and a 2nd prize of $2,000, thanks to the generous support of Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens and the Maple Brown Foundation.

Deputy Executive Director Science and Conservation at Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands Dr Brett Summerell said the work of a talented botanical illustrator captured the very essence of plants, even better than a camera. 

‘While beautiful as ornaments, their more important function is to help scientists, horticulturists and conservationists identify plants,' Dr Summerell said.

The Award is one of a kind — given annually for the best illustration submitted from anyone, anywhere in the world.  

Curator Catherine Wardrop said the 2015 Award attracted a very high standard of entries.

‘This year there was a large section of really beautiful work, but at the top end the final images were so tight that the judges had to reconvene three times, finally agreeing to award a shared second-prize, reflecting the hair-splitting argument for each piece. They believe that both artists deserved their share of the winnings’, Wardrop explained.

‘Considerations of minute scientific accuracy balanced against those of technical and artistic merit. It was intensely discussed and the judges enjoyed the tussle immensely.’

The Award is named after Margaret Flockton, the first botanical illustrator to work at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. From 1901 to 1927 she executed more than 1000 botanically-accurate drawings, lithographs and coloured sketches which are still referred to and reproduced for plant taxonomy and identification today.  

Click here for further information on Margaret Flockton and the Margaret Flockton Award.


Margaret Flockton Award 2015 winners

Saavedra Vidal Syngonium podophyllum1st x177

First prize ($5000)  
Syngonium podophyllum 
By Edmundo Saavedra Vidal 

Dewar Adiantum hispidulum 2nd x177
Joint Second prize ($1000)
Adiantum hispidulum 
By Pauline Dewar

Sousa Doryopteris concolor 2nd x177 

Joint Second prize ($1000)
Doryopteris concolor  
By Klei Sousa

Saavedra Vidal Genus Thompsonella HC x177
Highly Commended
Genus Thompsonella
By Edmundo Saavedra Vidal

Sousa Vriesea carinata HC x177
Highly Commended
Vriesea carinata
Klei Sousa

Supported by

The Maple-Brown family

Foundation & Friends