Botanical Illustration is the art of depicting the form, colour and details of plant species most frequently used in water colour paintings.
The profession of botanical illustrator began to emerge when, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, systems of botanical nomenclature began to be published and a need for drawings or paintings was recognised. A huge variety of new plants valued not only for their uses in food and medicine but also for their beauty, were collected and taken to Europe by explorers during this period.
Recording of all known plants, by careful observation and description of their characteristics, habits and environments, required a systematic approach. In 1735, Carl Linnaeus published "Systema Naturae" which classified nature and provided structure for the evolution of modern botany.
By focusing on all parts of the plant providing clarity for interpretation and visual communication, a skilled illustrator can visually provide information that would be difficult to capture through other means such as photography.
In 2010 the Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens formed a Botanical Illustration Group, holding Workshops and meeting regularly to learn and exchange experiences. The group has used the diverse abundance of material in the Botanical Gardens to illustrate and depict the components of trees, flowers and leaves of interesting specimens. Some of these illustrations have been reproduced in 'An Eden of Lovliness'. .
Members enjoy the exhilarating journey of discovering the practice of this wonderful art form.