When we think of botanical illustrations, our minds cast over the various ways in which different species have been meticulously drawn and painted throughout the centuries. We have witnessed the shift in purpose for these beautiful artifacts as they have become less about scientific illustration and more about elegant pieces of art. 

Since ancient Greece, botanical illustrations were the result of countless experimentation and research that were cataloged by their forms and varying medicinal attributes. These illustrations have been referred to throughout the centuries for the evolution of species and changes in plant anatomy.

We have seen within our own Australian context Indigenous depictions of native fauna that has since been thought of as some of the earliest plant identification. The Victorian period saw a shift in the purpose of botanical illustrations as the development of photography came in to play. Illustration became less about ‘science’ and transformed itself into an art form. Triggering the rise of Botanical Art.

Gertrude Lovegrove was a local botanical artist in the late 19th Century who used watercolours to depict the abundant plant life across Sydney and all over New South Wales. She came to illustrate The Wild Flowers of New South Wales alongside William Baeuerlen in 1891. Lovegrove’s work celebrates the beauty and the evolution of plant life and is a perfect example of Botanical Art of its time. 

Botanical Art has made a revival in today’s art culture. Not only are artists taking an opportunity to document plant life for art but also a nod in the direction of science and environmental research. Whilst camera and photography were revolutionary in The Victorian period, the approach to plant documentation is making a shift in today’s art world to include the whole life cycle of plants as the research is extensive before even putting paint to paper.

One of our own Australian Botanical Artist living in Brisbane is Anne Hayes. The detail of which Hayes portrays through her investigation of plant species is remarkable.


Artists: Anne Hayes

We would suggest taking some time to observe the past and recent works of local and international Botanical Artists.