Librarian to volunteer – “You see those pictures? Can you hang them together so that they are level and equidistant?”
You can see that eventually I managed, but it wasn’t easy, with windows either side, a sloping ceiling and a wallpaper pattern sloping in the opposite direction. However the payback was an invitation to the Private View of the exhibition being held in the Garden Library at RHS Wisley showing the work of Niki Simpson.
A Gold medal winning botanical artist who has worked in the Botany department at Wisley, Niki’s work brings together the scientific rigour used to prepare herbarium specimens and the aesthetic qualities of a botanical painting. A pressed specimen loses its colour, might shrink and distort in the drying process and is a record of one moment in time. One of Niki’s digital images accurately records the colours, may include micrographic images and can show the colour changes through the seasons. So fine hairs become visible, pollen shapes can be recorded and the full autumn splendour can be shown alongside spring blossoms.
Niki began her digital work in the early 2000s and by 2007 was being invited to exhibit at the Botanisches Museum in Berlin – this was also the year she was awarded her first RHS Gold medal for her innovative work. More recently Niki has been asked to illustrate books such as Galathomania shown in the header of this post and very fittingly she has been asked to record some of the woody specimens at RHS Wisley.
These pictures are being exhibited until the 9th of December and I recommend that you ‘take a closer look’.