Our new patron

We are thrilled to welcome our new patron, Monty Don!
One of our aims as a society is to bring botanical art to a wider audience of garden and plant lovers, and we look forward to working under his patronage. He says-

I have always loved the lapidary quality of botanical art. The precision and total commitment to accuracy and faithfulness to life creates works that transcend illustration – even though faithful illustration is the starting point for every single botanical drawing and painting. Without artists and draughtsmen and women meticulously recording plants with extraordinary skill, science would have been inadequately recorded. The resulting hundreds of thousands of works remain definitive and, despite photography and all the burgeoning technology available to us, often remain the best and most accurate reference point for so many plants.

But there is a quality to all best botanical art that captures the essence of a plant as well as its details. We learn what it looks like but also much more. Inside the scrupulous attention to the purely physical description of a plant lies its abstraction. Just like a good human portrait, the indefinable element that seemingly evades mere description is caught in that relationship between the magic of the artists’ skill and the plant’s physical presence.

So to be asked to become patron of the Society of Botanical Artists is a huge honour. The almost microscopic skills of the botanical artists working with incredible detail might seem a long way from the physical labour of everyday gardening but these are threads that come from the same tapestry. In the end our mutual love of plants and their endless fascination flows from an exquisite page with jewel-like intensity on down the garden path to the borders, allotments and greenhouses right across the world. To be able to share that passion and to be asked to be, in a modest way, part of it, is a delight.

Monty Don
August 2020