Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Capturing Flora

The Art Gallery of Ballarat is a great place to visit any time but an extra-special exhibition is a real bonus. We went to see Capturing Flora: 300 years of Australian botanical art, an exhibition of drawings, paintings, etchings and prints of Australian flora.

Most of the art work is from the gallery's own collection - a pretty impressive effort. The Director of the gallery states (in his forward to the book of the same name that has been produced to complement the exhibition) that the impetus for the exhibition was Helen Hewson's book Australia: Three Hundred Years of Botanical Illustration published in 1999.

We saw works by Ferdinand Bauer, John Hunter, Sidney Parkinson, Celia Rosser, Henry Andrews, Walter Fitch, Rosa Fiveash, Louisa Ann Meredith, Margaret Flockton, Margaret Stones, Robyn Mayo and many others. We saw books opened to display etchings and wonderful hand-tinted illustrations. We heard heard Jean Dennis in person talking about her paintings of the Brachychiton genus. I was personally taken by Lauren Black's watercolours of Tasmanian mosses.

And we saw an illustration in a book of poisonous plants in Queensland, done by Margaret Anderson Hope who was a Tasmanian. I recognised the name and when home checked my family tree database and, yes, she's a distant relative. Here's a photo of Margaret holding a posy. The original is in the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts in Tasmania and they also hold an album of Margaret's paintings called 'Wildflowers of Tasmania'.

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