RHS Botanical day out, a lizard, and appearing in a magazine - November 26th 2012

Story posted: Monday, 26. November 2012 by Lizzie Harper

This week was spent, mostly, not in the studio.  On Wednesday I had a day trip to the Lindley Library at the RHS in London.  Our group, The Institute of Analytical Plant Illustrators (IAPI) were given a tour of some of the wonderful treasures held there.  Seeing the original paintings done by life-long heroes such as Ehret, Stella Ross-Craig, and the Bauer brothers was breath taking.  We had hand lenses out, peering at the gouache of Snelling’s peonies

Paeony illustration by Lilian Snelling (RHS library)

and gasped at the softness of the fruit painted by Hooker.

May Duke Cherry by William Hooker (RHS Linley Library)

We also looked at a wonderful overview of botanical books and publications, which doubled as a whistle-stop tour of engraving and lithographic techniques through time.  My favourite was an enormous volume with details of every possible part and species of palm; cross-sections through flowers and stem, distribution, microscopic observations of the wood…  Extraordinary.


Back at the studio, I managed to get the common lizard done in, along with his field of quaking grass, common spotted orchid, and dropwort.

Common Lizard in field of orchids, quaking grass, dropwort, and limestone rock

Although I’m happy with the illustration, it has to be said that examining my own work after such recent exposure to the luminaries at the RHS was harsh.  I remember a similar feeling many years ago after a Durer exhibition.


I did more marketing, and as a result I now will have two of my paintings appear in a feature called “Botanicals” which is due to run in the March 2013 issue of Woman and Home.  Life can be quite peculiar sometimes.

Assorted British wildflowers including coltsfoot, primrose, and bird's foot trefoil

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