Exhibition: Pigments and Petals

Exhibition / Festival

RHS Lindley Library

RHS Lindley Library


80 Vincent Square


RHS Lindley Library, London


  • Member

    Free Admission

  • Non-member

    Free Admission


  • Event times

    Mon-Fri: 10am - 5pm

  • Subject

    Exhibition / Festival

  • Topic

    Flower painting

Caroline Maria Applebee was a talented, but little known, amateur flower painter working in the 19th century during the period when this leisure pastime was at the height of its popularity. With more than a passing interest in this pursuit, over the course 40 years she produced over 300 artworks featuring a variety of different flowering plant species. 

Her paintings comprise a fascinating body of work and this exhibition at the Lindley Library, displaying a small selection, will explore some of the mysteries surrounding her life and art. Applebee worked with both of native and exotic flowers and painted all of her subjects with equal care and attention to detail. Her desire to seek out some of the most fashionable plants of the time reveals a dedication not just to art but to the practice of horticulture itself. The display will feature a selection of her paintings of both groups and single specimens. It will also include 19th-century books on botany and flower painting and present new research into local horticultural societies, exploring some of the possible sources for her instruction and inspiration throughout her long career. 

Image: (partial view) ‘Calceolaria Hybrids’, watercolour by Caroline Maria Applebee, 1852 © RHS Library Collections

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.