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Scientific Illustration

Botany is an ancient science. Botanical illustrations - drawings that make science visual – have a history thousands of years old. The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney boasts not one but two scientific illustrators, maintaining the rich tradition that began at the National Herbarium of NSW in 1901. Living, pressed, dried or floating in alcohol, plants are interpreted, reimagined and perfected in illustration – no matter how humble the species, how aged or decrepit the specimens may be.

The role of our scientific illustrators is to highlight botanical research, to clarify our understanding, but along the way they also happen to make the science beautiful.

Through Foundation & Friends of the Botanic Garden, there is an annual art class programme, that includes Fundamentals of Drawing and Scientific Illustration classes run by the Royal Botanic Garden Illustrators Lesley Elkan and Catherine Wardrop. We also have classes in botanic art with well known artists, general painting classes and a varied selection of basketry courses to choose from.