Opening Times:
Mon to Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-5am


Opening Times:
Mon to Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-5am

The works in this exhibition took seed from a conversation between Victoria Crowe and Professor David Ingram of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge (and formerly Regius Professor of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh) whilst she painted his portrait. Talk turned to a new body of collaborative research concerning the use of living and preserved specimens in Botanic Gardens, Museums, Herbaria and Libraries in Cambridge, Edinburgh and Venice.

Assisted by Professor Ingram as guide to these collections, Victoria has immersed herself in research, initially working towards a new suite of etchings and a book of mixed media prints to ‘publish’ her findings. The result has become much greater than this initial proposal. The exhibition is a glimpse at some of these exciting avenues of research from an unique collaboration between scientist and artist.

“As with all rewarding bits of research, the ideas have gone off in all sorts of unexpected directions. In many ways the starting points in this body of work are less to do with “real” plants, than with their symbolic history and imagery, their flattened, two-dimensional, faded herbarium records, the poetry of their botanical description, their nomenclature and labeling and their curative properties. There is also a sense of their (and all living things) transitory nature; one of the most powerful experiences was holding dried specimens of two plants in Cambridge which Darwin had collected, which are both now world extinct.

The libraries and museums of Venice, Cambridge and Edinburgh have provided new insights into the visual language of plant descriptions on paper, ceramic and fabric. The early printed and manuscript herbals are at once aged and immediate, mysterious and specific, symbolic and naive, yet attempting to be scientific.

I have always wanted the exhibition to show the thought process from first responses in note-books and sketch-books, through analytical drawing of specimens through to completed works. I have made a series of mixed-media and intaglio pieces which read as ‘open books’ to refer to the herbals, plant connections and symbolic references. There will also be a very limited edition of a hand-printed, drawn and hand-bound artist’s book”.
Victoria Crowe RSA 2007

The research has been made possible by St Catharines College, Cambridge and the Royal Scottish Academy Sir William Gillies Bequest.

There will also be a series of accompanying exhibitions, events and talks to accompany this exhibition. These are as follows

RSA Friends Talk with Victoria Crowe
Thursday 25th October, 2 – 3pm
Open to the Friends of the RSA only.

The Big Draw: Plant Memory
The Big Draw National Drawing Day; Saturday 13th October 11am – 3pm. RSA, The Mound, Edinburgh. Free

A Discussion and Illustrated Lecture on the exhibition Plant Memory
Victoria Crowe RSA OBE and Professor David Ingram, OBE VMH FRSE
Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22 -26 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PQ
Monday 8th October at 6pm. Free.

Plant Memory – Herbals and Herbaria
Works from the Collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
Library, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
Open: Doors Open Day 29 September 2007 10.00 – 15.30
Open Monday – Friday 10.00 – 16.00. Free

Works from the Collections of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh
Library, Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JQ
Open : Doors Open Day – 29th September 2007 then Monday – Friday (times tbc)

PLEASE NOTE: It has come to our attention that a number of Victoria Crowe catalogues have a binding fault. If you have previously purchased one of these catalogues please return it to us and we will be happy to exchange it.

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