The Brilliant World of Botanical Art, Combining Beauty and Scientific Perspective
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest botanical gardens in the world, with a collection of over 220,000 pieces of botanical art.
Kew Gardens, as it is commonly known, began in 1759 as a small garden in southwest London opened by Princess Augusta, the mother of King George III. During the reign of King George III and Queen Charlotte, the garden was expanded dramatically in scale, and developed as a research institution amid the Enlightenment that was then sweeping across Europe.
This exhibition features items from Kew Gardens' invaluable collection of 18th and 19th century botanical art, as well as a selection of ceramics from manufacturers including Wedgwood, whom was beloved by Queen Charlotte and made a purveyor to the royal household. The exhibition traces the development and changing historical context of the natural sciences and botanical art in England during a time of dramatic upheaval.
Botanical art brings together the scientific perspective of minute depiction and dazzling beauty. Please enjoy this opportunity to be surrounded by colorful flowers from all over the world.
・Around 100 works of botanical art, meticulously drawn by attentive artists.
・Rare, brilliantly hand-colored Flora (botanical publications) such as The Temple of Flora and Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.
・Queen Charlotte’s favored Queensware and other ceramics from manufacturers with ties to the Royal Family including Wedgewood, Worcestor, and Derby.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Botanical Arts of Flowers
Queen Charlotte and the Enlightenment
Saturday, 18 September - Sunday 28 November, 2021
Closed every Mondays (except September 20), and September 21
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
5-21-9, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo
10:00 - 18:00 (Last admission at 17:30)
|Middle & high school students||General¥700||Advance/Group¥560|
|Senior (65 and over)||General¥700||Advance/Group¥560|
Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture,
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
With the special cooperation of
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.
BRAIN TRUST INC.
With the co-sponsorship of
Botanical art originally developed as an accompaniment to scientific publications such as pharmacopoeias and botanical journals.
This section introduces works produced in the 17th century, a period when botanical art was beginning to emerge before its dramatic development in the 18th century.
Royal Patronage—Art of Botanical Illustration
European botanical gardens trace their history back to medicinal herb gardens, but with the development of botany during the Renaissance, many began to cultivate a wide range of plants. In the 17th and 18th centuries, botany and the natural sciences were prioritized by powerful monarchs in France, England, and the Holy Roman Empire, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was established in 1759.
The British royal family maintained deep ties to Kew Gardens, where many exemplary pieces of botanical art were produced.
The Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries nourished a flourishing of philosophy, medicine, botany, and other sciences, as well as economics and commerce, leading to the start of the Industrial Revolution. In England, the royal family played an important role in the developments during this era of science and industry. In particular, Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, protected the arts and sciences and became a force behind the industrial development of her country.
This section includes a selection of Wedgwood porcelain, one of the favorites of the queen.
The “company” refers to the British East India Company, and the Indian painters who produced work for the British in India from the late 18th to 19th centuries are known as the Company School. The term Company School includes works commissioned by botanists to record their research, as well as works produced in Southeast and East Asia, where the East India Company was influential.
Exotic subjects were favored, and some works hint at the mixture of Western and Eastern styles.
Women Botanical Artists
The study of botany and watercolors was considered part of a woman’s education in 18th century England. Outstanding female botanical painters emerged during this era, when painting became a new option for women whose career choices were very limited.
This section introduces the work of female painters who were active in the field of botanical art.
Curtis′s Botanical Magazine
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, first published in London in 1787, was an academic journal with a wide readership that continues to be published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, more than two centuries later. It was lavishly produced, using copperplate reproductions of outlines based on watercolors painted by the resident artists, with each illustration hand-colored. The original paintings and the hand-colored etchings are shown side-by-side in this exhibition.
Top row from left：1. Rosa moscosa (original attribution. Rosa Lutea) 1788, Hand-coloured print on paper, Private collection
2. Johan Zoffany, Charlotte Queen of Great Britain 1772, Mezzotint on paper, Private collection
3. Peter Henderson, Rhododendron ponticum / The Pontic Rhododendron 1802, Print on paper, Private collection
Middle row from left：4. Sydenham Teast Edwards, Yucca gloriosa 1810, Hand-coloured print on paper, Private collection
5. Wedgewood, Queensware covered dish, with green decoration 1765-1770, Cremware, Private collection
6. Mrs Thomas Hervey Roses. Rosa centifolia and Rosa gallica 1800, Watercolour on paper, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Bottom row from left：7. Wedgewood, Brooch of Queen Charlotte 20th century, Jasperware, Private collection
8. Sydenham Teast Edwards, Paeonia officinalis c.1815, Graphite and watercolour on paper, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
9. Frederick Polydore Nodder, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, Centaurea cyanus, Chrysanthemum fegetum 1794, Print on paper, Private collection
6.8 ⒸThe Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew /3.5.7 Photo Michael Whiteway /220.127.116.11 Photo Brain Trust Inc.