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The Margaret Flockton Award

The Margaret Flockton Award is unique amongst international art awards, focusing exclusively on contemporary scientific botanical illustration, as distinct from botanical art.

Illustrators from around the world submit scientifically accurate drawings that accompany the published taxonomic description of the plant, clearly highlighting all of the distinctive features of the species. Original taxonomic illustrations are highly detailed black and white drawings primarily undertaken in pen and ink, pencil or digitally rendered.

Entries are open 29 January - 12 February 2018

First prize: AU$5000; second prize: AU$2000; 3 x Highly Commended.

The Margaret Flockton Award commemorates the contribution Margaret Flockton made to Australian scientific botanical illustration. The Maple Brown Family and the Foundation & Friends of the Botanic Gardens sponsor this annual, international award for excellence in scientific botanical illustration.

When: Saturday 21 April - Sunday 6 May 2018, daily 10 am - 4 pm.
Where: Joseph Maiden Theatre, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney - enter via Woolloomooloo Gate on Mrs Macquaries Road
Friday 18 May – Sunday 29 July 2018,  Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm and selected weekends
The Australian PlantBank at The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan

Saturday 11 August – Sunday 23 September 2018,  daily 9.30am – 4.30pm
Visitor Centre at The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah

Cost: Free entry - selected works for sale direct from the artist
Enquiries: botanical.illustration@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au | Ph: 02 9231 8111

Winners

Congratulations to all of our 2017 winners!

Click on the individual image to view an enlarged version.

First Prize - $5000 
Calamus sp. nov. “pintaudi” 
Lucy Smith

Kew, United Kingdom

I am proud and honoured to receive this award today.  My big thanks must go first to the Maple-Brown family for generously sponsoring this award every year. The opportunity to enter this exhibition and award nearly every year since 2005 has played a really important role in my professional development.  As the organisers Catherine and Lesley well know, the work of a scientific botanical illustrator reaches quite a small audience of specialists, so it is very exciting to know that your work will be seen and appreciated here by a much wider audience than usual.  And, you get to see what other illustrators from all over the world are doing.  None of this would be possible without its sponsors to whom I am very grateful.

I would also like to thank Catherine Wardrop and Lesley Elkan for their excellent organisation of this event.  Their enthusiasm, encouragement and hard work has created something very unique in the botanical illustration world. 

The piece for which I have been awarded first prize, Calamus pintaudii, represents one of around 35 new species of climbing palm which I have illustrated for the Palms of New Guinea project.  Instructed by Dr Bill Baker at Kew, it was a challenge to make a beautiful image from what was quite a scruffy herbarium specimen! In Bill’s words, we were getting to the end of the Calamus descriptions and thus into the “dregs” of the collection.  As we so often work from “challenging” herbarium material, us botanical illustrators are used to rising such challlenges and I was able to see beauty in this specimen’s curving rachillae, fibrous old ocrea and the always satisfying repetition of spines and flower bracts.  I am glad that the judges agreed!

Finally, the description and name of this new species was published only two weeks ago.  Its species name “pintaudii” was chosen by the authors to remember Jean-Christophe Pintaud, a devoted palm scientist from France whose untimely death in 2015 shocked and saddened the palm world.  We are so pleased that this award further honours his memory.

Final thanks must go to all the botanists with whom I’ve been fortunate to work with in Australia and at Kew, and also to my wonderful family for coming and representing me today. Thank you so much everyone.

Lucy Smith 
2017 Margaret Flockton Award First Prize Winner 

 

Second prize - $2000
Monanthotaxis pynaertii 
Esmee Winkel 

Leiden, The Netherlands 

Highly Commended
Drosera magnifica sp. nov.
Rogerio Lupo

Brazil 

Highly Commended
Dracaena draco subsp. draco
Juan Luis Castillo

Spain

Highly Commended
Echium wildpretii subsp. wildpretii
Juan Luis Castillo

Spain

 

Congratulations to all of our 2016 winners!

Click on the individual image to view an enlarged version.

First prize - $5,000
Pellaea falcata P. nana 
Pauline Dewar

Australia

Second prize - $2,000

Mucuna japira
Gustavo Marigo

United Kingdom

Highly Commended 
Cissus erecta
Hye Woo Shin

South Korea

Highly Commended 
Aeonium balsamiferum
Juan Luis Castillo

Spain

Highly Commended 
Cyathea delgadii
Susana Ferreira de Souza

Brazil


The judges for the 2016 Award were:

  • Lesley Elkan, Botanical Illustrator and Margaret Flockton Award Curator, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
  • Dr Trevor Wilson, Botanist, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
  • Anne Ryan, Curator Australian Art, Art Gallery of NSW

The award is judged on the following criteria:

1. Accurate interpretation and portrayal of the plant characters and diagnostic features highlighted in the botanical description

2. Technical merit

3. Artistic merit

4. Composition

5. Reproducibility

First prize - $5,000
Syngonium podophyllum
Edmundo Saavedra Vidal
Mexico

Joint Second prize - $1,000
Adiantum hispidulum
Pauline Dewar
Victoria, Australia

Joint Second prize - $1,000
Doryopteris concolor
Klei Sousa
Brazil

Highly Commended 
Genus Thompsonella
Edmundo Saavedra Vidal
Mexico
Highly Commended 
Vriesea carinata
Klei Sousa
Brazil
 
Entry Requirements

All previous winners of the Margaret Flockton Award are eligible to enter, excluding the 2017 winning artist.

There are no entry fees for the Margaret Flockton Award and Exhibition.

Entries to be submitted between 29 Jan and 12 Feb 2018.

Works must have been produced after February 2016.

Exhibition:
21 April – 6 May 2018, Joseph Henry Maiden Theatre, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
19 May – 29 July 2018 Australian PlantBank, The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.
11 August – 23 September 2018, Visitor Centre at The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah

Online gallery: from 18 May 2018 

From 2017 all illustrations and paperwork must be submitted digitally. Original artworks and paperwork sent via the postal system will no longer be accepted.

Each artist may submit up to two illustrations. Only high resolution digital scans of black and white (for example pen and ink, graphite or scraperboard) illustrations and/or monochromatic, digitally rendered illustrations, either published or unpublished, will be considered. All illustrations must be intended for 2D printed output. Animated or 3D rendered works or images dependent on digital viewing, as well as photos and photo montage works, are not eligible for submission.

Entries are to be digitally submitted at 100% of original artwork size with an image area no larger than A3 (295 mm x 420 mm) and no smaller than (180 x 250 mm), EXCLUDING legend. Illustrations outside of these parameters will not be accepted. The digital canvas size may only be longer than A3 to allow for the legend. The illustration should include a small legend (with plant name and all lettered components), neatly written or typed at the bottom of the artwork, outside of the image area.

Only full plate illustrations will be accepted (inclusive of habit study and diagnostic features of the species). Inclusion of scale bars, whilst not compulsory, is highly recommended.

Note: eligible entries may be printed at 67% of original size to assess reproducibility at judging.

Illustrations selected for judging and exhibition will be printed on high quality paper and framed in standard exhibition frames.

The Margaret Flockton Award Exhibition will display high quality prints of submitted digital files only. Original artworks are neither exhibited nor sold at the Margaret Flockton Award Exhibition. If artists wish to provide an email or professional website address for direct enquiries regarding sales/other from the customer, please enter details on the biography template and consent to their use via the entry form.

 On the entry form consent is sought for the following -

1. for the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust to store and print one high resolution copy of each entry for judging and exhibition.

2. to allow high resolution illustrations to be reproduced and biographical information to be used by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust or the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens for the sole purpose of promoting the Margaret Flockton Award and Exhibition.

3. to allow low resolution illustrations and biographical information to be viewed in an on-line gallery format created by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust and the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens for the sole purpose of promoting the Margaret Flockton Award and Exhibition.

4. to indicate that your original or digital print is available for sale

5. for your contact details to be publically displayed on your biography

The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust and the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens are the sole owners of the information collected from the entry forms and any other information submitted and will not sell, share or rent this information to others except for the sole purpose of advertising or promoting the Margaret Flockton Award and Exhibition. All care of artworks and rights of artists will be respected and no illustrations will be commercially reproduced from this process.

Email completed forms (1-4) to botanical.illustration@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au


1. Complete my entry form
Each illustration must be accompanied by an entry form. When submitting this form you are agreeing to all of the conditions of entry. Please read all conditions carefully before submitting.
Incomplete entry forms may render entries ineligible. Please tick the checklist on the entry form to ensure all information has been supplied.

2. Complete my label template
Each illustration is to be accompanied by a fully completed label template with the scientific name of the plant, medium, artist's name and the legend of the drawing. These will be printed and displayed with each work.

3. Complete my biography
The provision of biographical information, contact details and photo is completely optional. See example biography.

A folder containing biographies of the contributing artists is compiled each year for visitors to refer to. For your biography a template has been provided on the link above with fields for your name, date and place of birth; education and career highlights; publication and exhibition history; website and email contact details. A scanned portrait or suitable passport photo of the artist is also to be inserted in the delineated spot in the template. Otherwise, a digital photo can be emailed separately.
Please limit the length of your biography to under two A4 pages.

NOTE: Original artworks are neither exhibited nor sold at the Margaret Flockton Award Exhibition. If artists wish to provide an email or professional website address for direct enquiries regarding sales/other from the customer, they must enter those details on the biography template and consent to their use via the entry form.

4. Supply a taxonomic description
A taxonomic description (either published or unpublished) must be provided with each illustration. The taxonomic description should be typed and submitted electronically. This will not be framed with the artwork but will be available in a separate folder during the judging and exhibition. Examples of such descriptions can be found in local Flora publications or on PlantNET, an on-line resource for the plants of New South Wales.
 

Digital submission - artwork

All illustrations and paperwork must be submitted digitally.

Once you have emailed completed forms (1-4) to botanical.illustration@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au you are then required to submit up to two image files using a large file transfer portal of your choice, such as Dropbox www.dropbox.com
Once you have created your account be sure to invite botanical.illustration@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au to View AND Edit files in the shared folder where you have uploaded your image files.
The Margaret Flockton Award Committee will contact you to confirm your image files have been received.
 
Digital file specifications
Two digital files are to be submitted for each illustration – one high resolution, one low. Neither file size should independently exceed 100MB.

1. High resolution for judging and exhibiting:
Ink line and stipple - Bitmap tiff @ 1200dpi
Pencil or Continuous tone - Greyscale tiff/ psd/ ai/ pdf @ 600dpi (minimum).
Entries are to be digitally submitted at 100% of original artwork size with an image area no larger than A3 (295 mm x 420 mm) and no smaller than (180 x 250 mm), EXCLUDING legend. Illustrations outside of these parameters will not be accepted. The digital canvas size may only be longer than A3 to allow for the legend.

2. Low resolution for on-line gallery;
Greyscale jpg @ 72dpi and 800 pixels wide

Whilst large file transfer sites such as Dropbox are reliable and secure The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust and the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens will not be liable for any breaches of security associated with transfer of digital images and information associated with the entries in the Margaret Flockton Award nor will they be responsible for any loss or damage of files in transit.
 

Entries will be assessed in accordance with the following criteria: accurate interpretation and portrayal of plant characters and diagnostic features; technical merit; reproducibility; composition; artistic merit. See A Guide to Scientific Illustration for more information on judging criteria.

Works should be submitted as ready for publication and must be capable of being reduced to 67% of the original size without loss of detail. A major criterion of scientific illustration is that images should be clearly and simply reproduced through the printing process.

After judging or, in the case of exhibited works, at the conclusion of the exhibition period, all high resolution digital files and printed illustrations will be destroyed with the exception of the winning, second prize and highly commended works. These are to be stored for historical and publicity purposes only. With the artist’s permission (see entry form) low resolution jpgs will be available for on-line viewing from 18 May 2018.

First and second prize-winners will be paid by electronic transfer in Australian dollars soon after the awards are announced. Overseas artists will be paid by International Money Transfer in Australian dollars and will need to provide their bank account information upon request. Overseas artists should note their banking institutions may charge fees for international transactions.

The science of botany requires plant taxonomists to describe plant species in both words and drawings, with botanists preparing a detailed description of the plant and the artist producing an accompanying illustration.

Taxonomic illustrations are normally published in scientific journals as highly detailed black and white drawings (primarily pen and ink, more rarely pencil) or digitally rendered illustrations (excluding photos and photo-montage), representing aspects of plant morphology essential for identification.

The Margaret Flockton Award is unique in art awards in that it recognises and promotes scientific botanical illustration as opposed to botanical art.

With the above in mind, the evaluation of entries is based on the following criteria:

  • Accurate interpretation and portrayal of plant characters and diagnostic features noted in the botanical description
  • Technical merit
  • Reproducibility
  • Composition
  • Artistic merit

When considering these broad criteria, the following are also taken into account:

Precision and accuracy 
Correct botanical detail, all plant characters and diagnostic features must be accurately displayed.

Reproducibility
The image must be capable of being successfully scanned and reproduced (often reduced) without loss of detail. Very dense (black) or light detail may not reproduce well. A major criterion of scientific illustration is that images should be clearly and simply reproduced through the printing process. Illustrations must be capable of being reduced to 67% of the original size without loss of detail.

Good composition 
The plate should be laid out to give a balanced presentation allowing the overall effect to be aesthetically pleasing. This balance is best demonstrated by the careful placement of the primary subject. In other cases, balance may be the result of careful placement of the dissected details of the plant.

Use of scale bars, whilst not mandatory, is preferred
Great care should be taken in giving the correct scale of each feature. If possible, avoid using multipliers eg. 'x3' or 'x0.5' to indicate the size of features, as this becomes meaningless if the drawing is used in a publication and printed at a different size; the use of a scale bar is accurate regardless of changes to the size of the image.

Signature 
The signature should be neat, small and consistent, with the year noted ie. 2017.

For enquiries and further information

Lesley Elkan and Catherine Wardrop
The Margaret Flockton Award
c/- Illustration, National Herbarium of NSW
Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust
Mrs Macquaries Road
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Telephone: 02 9231 8133
Email: botanical.illustration@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

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