"The art of botanical painting continues even in the face of enhanced photographic technology and the digital revolution, for there is simply no substitute for the discerning talents of the artist capturing the essence of plant form."
Professor Peter R Crane FRS, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: excerpt from his foreword to The Art of Botanical Painting
The Society pays tribute to its Founder President Suzanne Lucas MBE FLS HPRMS for her inspiration in creating the Society which was formed in 1985 to bring together botanical artists of repute with Suzanne as its Founder President. Her aim was to create a focus for the continuation of the centuries-old tradition of excellence in this unique aspect of art.
The Society's first Open Exhibition Flowers and Gardens took place in April 1986 at the Mall Galleries in London with the late Sir Roger de Grey KCVO, founding sponsor of the Society and President of the Royal Academy of Arts, performing the opening ceremony. The event was hosted by Professor Chaloner BSc PhD FRS, President of the Linnean Society of London and Honorary Member of the SBA. The Society was on its way!
For many years the Society has held its Annual Open Exhibitions in the Westminster Gallery at Central Hall Westminster. In 2005 many areas were closed to the public because of extensive refurbishment which was the reason why the Society did not hold an Exhibition in that year but for 2006 we relocated to the Lecture Hall in which we held our Celebratory exhibition acknowledging 21 years of excellence. Following the success of this exhibition, we anticipate holding all future annual open exhibitions in this location.
In 2005, due to ill health, Suzanne retired as President and sadly passed away in December 2008. Vice President and Founder Member Margaret Stevens was elected as her successor 2005 and Vickie Marsh took over the Presidency in 2010. The Society continues to move forward in her capable hands.
In 2004 The Art of Botanical Painting was written by Margaret Stevens for the Society and published in association with Harper Collins. Initially designed for those searching for a practical guide to the subject of botanical art, the book has been a resounding success and the American edition was published by Harper Collins US in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution.
A new book The Botanical Palette, again written by Margaret Stevens for the Society, was published by Harper Collins in October 2007.
Realising that The Art of Botanical Painting would be an ideal textbook on which to base a course, the Society launched a Distance Learning Diploma Course in January 2005. Six Courses have completed, two are taking place and enrolment for 2012 is underway.
In April 2010 Anova Books published of Botanical Sketchbook by SBA Member and former DLDC student Mary Ann Scott, under the auspices of the SBA and with Margaret Stevens acting as consultant and co-editor.
Professor Sir Ghillean Prance MA DPhil FRS FLS VMH F.Biol
Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1988-1999
Suzanne Lucas MBE FLS HPRMS PPRMS FPSBA HonSWA HSF BMS (1915-2008)
Vickie Marsh BSc CertHE(BotIl) SBA SGM
Lady Jackie Gethin SBA
Susan Christopher-Coulson BA(Hons) SBA SFP GM
Joanna Craig-McFeely SBA SFP SGM
Marion Perkins SBA MIL
Margaret Stevens PPSBA GM
Commissions and Information:
Mrs Pamela Henderson, Executive Secretary
The Society of Botanical Artists Limited,
registered in England and Wales No. 5460619, Charity Registration No. 1110869
Registered office: 1 Knapp Cottages, Wyke, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 4NQ
Tel. 01747 825718 Fax. 01747 826835