Lilian Snelling: the rhododendron and primula drawings
Author: H. J. Noltie
Publisher: The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Art can heighten and echo the feeling and emotion we experience in moments of our lives. However, botanical illustrations are much more than pictures with emotional attachments, these images can be inherently valuable to plant scientists, researchers, historians, plant collectors, and gardeners; holding a lasting value that can be enjoyed in perpetuity.
Over time, as botanists and plant scientists learn more about plants; the names we attribute to plants naturally evolve and change. Botanical drawings and paintings help us to establish some certainty and clarity over what plants were grown, used, or referenced in the past, giving us an incredibly valuable key to unlock our history.
Lilian Snelling (1879-1972) didn’t receive the recognition she deserved during her lifetime; a time when sexism was rife and men’s work continued to be more highly praised and esteemed than women’s. This book reflects on Lilian Snelling’s magnificent contribution to horticulture and the inspiration that Lilian Snelling’s botanical artwork held for the botanical artists that succeed her. Focusing on Lilian Snelling’s rhododendron and primula drawings, this book gives the reader a sense of the people that Lilian worked with, as well as more information on the plants she illustrated. Readers will discover more details about Rhododendron and Primula species, including facts about where the plants were discovered, the gardens where these plants were grown, and the meaning behind the names of particular Rhododendron and Primula species.
The Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh is referenced throughout this book, as Lilian Snelling worked at the RBGE for almost four years and she also travelled to these gardens to draw and paint particular plants in bloom, at other times. Naturally, Lilian Snelling regularly drew plants that were grown and collected by plant hunters and horticulturists who worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
Four hundred and thirty of Lilian Snelling’s botanical watercolours, drawings, and sepia studies are held by the RBGE. This book was produced by the RBGE to showcase this important collection and celebrate and commemorate Lilian Snelling’s talent and her contribution to horticulture.
If you’re interested in the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, then I’m sure that you’ll enjoy reading Lilian Snelling: the rhododendron and primula drawings. I found it particularly interesting to read about the lives of notable persons from the horticultural world during, these eras, and I enjoyed discovering how each of these artists, photographers, plant hunters, and horticulturists’ work was connected and entwined.
As you’d expect, Lilian Snelling: the rhododendron and primula drawings contains an array of fascinating images, but this isn’t just a picture book, interesting text accompanies the images, giving the reader an insight into the work of Lilian Snelling, her contemporaries, and their experiences during their working lives. As well as paintings and drawings, the author has included historical photographs to further enhance the information given and widen the reader’s view of the plants discussed.
Lilian Snelling is known as the greatest botanical artist of her time; if you’d like to take a step back into history to admire Lilian Snelling’s botanical illustrations and learn more about this important artist and the plants she drew and painted, I would heartily recommend this lovely book. Here’s a link to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s website, where you’ll find more information and you can purchase your own copy.
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