Words by Samuel Christian
Featured Photograph courtesy of Marianne North Gallery, RBG
You might not think of going to the Royal Botanic Gardens looking for art, but that is the reason it is one of London’s best-kept secrets for art enthusiasts. With two galleries on site and the library offering further examples, Kew is the best place in London to see botanical art. Formed out of a need for accurate depictions of plants but with attention to artistic qualities as well, it remains a genre leaving you in awe of both the brilliance of natural colors and the artistic skill required.
The Marianne North Gallery is relatively unknown but one of the true wonders of the London art world. With over 800 paintings hung in a patchwork from floor to ceiling just as Marianne North herself arranged them, it is a real spectacle as you travel the world through plants painted in their natural habitat: a method that challenged Victorian botanical art. Meanwhile, the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art is home to exhibitions featuring the best of both classical and contemporary botanical art.
London TW9 3AE