This book brings together striking botanical art of Indian origin spanning a period of three hundred years, focussing on the 18th and 19th centuries. Drawn mostly from works held in the collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, some of the paintings have never been published before. They showcase the richness and variety of art commissioned from talented, mostly unknown, Indian artists who made a substantial contribution to the documentation of the flora of the Indian subcontinent. A foreword written by Sita Reddy places the collections in contemporary context. The book concludes with works from a new generation of botanical artists in India, who excite interest today.
‘Two hundred years since the first botanical paintings were sent by ship from India to Kew Gardens, this book will be their first return to the subcontinent as a printed archive. In this sense, this small but significant volume is a giant step in the right direction. More than seventy years after gaining independence from the British Crown, the Indian post-colony inherited a hybrid botanical art tradition whose artists were invisible, then and now. With recognition of their role, past and present, can begin the urgent task of creating a poetics and a politics for the decolonisation of Indian botanical art. This timely and beautiful book seeds a promising future and a garden of archival possibilities.’ – SITA REDDY
‘In recent years there has been a renaissance of botanical painting throughout India, with artists such as Hemlata Pradhan in Kalimpong, Nirupa Rao in Bangalore and Jaggu Prasad in Rajasthan, exhibiting around the world, and teaching botanical painting to a new generation, who are influenced by both Indian traditions and the modern European flower painting. Their work here demonstrates how the traditions begun in the 18th century continue to excite interest even today.’ – MARTYN RIX
About the Author
Martyn Rix is a renowned horticulturalist, author of many books and editor of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. He is the recipient of the Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society for services to horticulture, and a Tercentary Bronze Medal from the Linnean Society.