We have some 30,000 original botanical illustrations, and oil portraits.
The earliest drawings date from the early 17th century, with comprehensive examples of work by eminent artists including contemporary RHS Gold medal winners. Highlights include a volume of drawings by Pieter van Kouwenhoorn (fl. 1630s), with illustrations of tulips (see left).
The Plant Seekers
An exciting new exhibition by the RHS Lindley Library in partnership with the Garden Museum. The Plant Seekers will run from 17 July – 21 October at the Garden Museum, London.
This exhibition of material from the world-renowned RHS Lindley Library will bring to life exciting stories of some of our most intrepid plant hunters who travelled the world in search of new and rare botanical treasures. Often facing life-threatening situations, they transformed our knowledge of plants and horticulture.
This unique exhibition will demonstrate how international plant hunting has influenced the modern British garden. It will also show a wider impact of plant collecting, from its influence on science and medicine to biodiversity and other environmental issues.
Garden Museum, 6 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB
Royal Connections - Celebrating Two Centuries of Royal Patrons
The story of the RHS’s long association with the Royal Family can be traced through the archives, photographs and artworks held by the RHS Lindley Library. These include a unique collection of illuminated Royal Autographs with decorated floral borders, painted by leading botanical artists, as a celebration of this royal connection.
21 May to 19 August 2012,
RHS Lindley Library Wisley, RHS Garden Wisley
Women in Horticulture
The RHS Lindley Library’s display visits Harlow Carr where visitors to the Garden Library can find out
about some of the most influential women in the horticultural world over the past 100 years.
16 April to 19 August 2012, RHS Lindley Library Harlow Carr, RHS Garden Harlow Carr
Our drawings include primarily botanical illustrations, focusing on the depiction of garden varieties or cultivars, rather than species.
Botanical illustration needs the highest level of accuracy, so they may be used for identification. This makes the collection unique in the UK and internationally. As cultivars are more fugitive than species, these drawings are often our best means of ascertaining what now vanished cultivars actually looked like.
Over the past 400 years approaches to the depiction of plants has altered according to latest scientific understanding, the sponsor or patron’s request and the intended audience. These variations can be seen in the stylistic manner adopted by artists from all over the world, represented in our drawings collection.
RHS botanical art exhibitions