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Indian Botanical Art

an illustrated history

Martyn Rix



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01 October 2021
The book brings together and shows for the first time ever striking botanical art of Indian origin spanning a period of three hundred years, focussing in particular on the 18th and 19th centuries. Drawn mostly from original works held in the collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, some of the paintings have never been published before. They showcase not only the wealth of the Indian sub-continent flora but the richness and variety of artworks, commissioned from mostly unknown Indian artists, who made a substantial contribution to the documentation of plants of economic, ornamental and cultural importance.
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 241mm,  Width: 190mm, 
ISBN:   9781842467220
ISBN 10:   1842467220
Pages:   224
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Martyn Rix is a renowned horticulturalist, and author of many books including The Golden Age of Botanical Art (Andre Deutsch, 2018) and co-author of Treasures of Botanical Art (Kew Publishing, 2018), Flora Japonica (Kew Publishing, 2016) and Treasured Trees (Kew Publishing, 2015), and editor of Curtis's Botanical Magazine. In 2002 he was awarded the Gold Veitch Memorial Medal by the RHS for his services to horticulture, and in 2008 a Tercentary bronze medal from the Linnean Society.

Reviews for Indian Botanical Art: an illustrated history

I do love a good coffee table book, and this unusual volume certainly fits the criteria. It's beautifully presented and, as per the title, lavishly illustrated. According to the foreword, the 18th century saw an increase in interest in the natural world and European travellers were very keen to catalogue plants in Asia. As a result, Indian artists were commissioned to create accurate drawings of plants, particularly those used for food or medicine. Gradually, these drawings became fashionable as art. The book is stuffed with gorgeous full colour plate reproductions of some of these drawings. If you're familiar with botanical art, which often shows the plants at different stages of growth and includes leaves and flowers laid out flat like paper dolls, then these will look familiar. Everything has an unfamiliar twist, though - I'm a fairly keen gardener but I couldn't recognise the vast majority of the plants! Opening the book at random, I could see references to spider flower, Himalayan Rhubarb and lacquer plant - I'm pretty sure there are none in the garden here! As well as information about the plants themselves, there's a history of how the art was commissioned, the artists themselves and the various styles and methods employed. I think it would appeal on a great many levels. It's a pretty, colourful thing to flick through as the pictures are beautiful. It would be of interest to gardeners, artists and anyone interested in the history of India. Personally I'd have been delighted to get this as a Christmas present, and I think it's the kind of book where you'll learn something new every time you open it. -- Sara Walker * *

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