Lilian Snelling

1 May - 8 July, 2007

Lilian Snelling

Lilian Snelling: Primula Poissonii Franchet, 1920, bodycolour on grey paper.

Lilian Snelling (1879-1972) painted approximately 430 watercolours and drawings of plants at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh between 1918 and 1921 for its then Regius Keeper (Isaac Bayley Balfour). Of these, approximately three quarters are of Rhododendron, the remainder mainly of Primula - plant families with which the Garden has always been closely associated. 

This was the first exhibition of these drawings, by an artist considered to be 'the greatest botanical artist of her time'. Snelling remains best known for her work as principal artist for Curtis's Botanical Magazine, for which she painted over 830 plates, during the thirty years before her retirement in 1952. From 1929 she was assisted by Stella Ross-Craig, whose early works she lithographed, having studied lithography whilst in Edinburgh at the college of Art under Frank Morley Fletcher.

This exhibition (in four rooms on the first floor) consisted of a representative selection made from the Garden's collection. In addition, there were also herbarium specimens of some of the plants which Snelling painted  - and photographs taken at the Garden by Robert Moyes Adam - which provided a fascinating insight into the historical use of photography in botanical illustration.

Lilian Snelling

Lilian Snelling: Primula Jesoana Miguel, pencil and bodycolour on paper.

Lilian Snelling

Lilian Snelling: Rhododendron campylocarpum J.D. Hooker subsp. campylocarpum, pencil and bodycolour on paper

Lilian Snelling

Lilian Snelling: Primula wilsonii var. anisodora (I. B. Balfour & Forrest) J. Richards, bodycolour on paper. 

All works courtesy of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. 

For further information about the exhibitions or events, please ask at the reception desk or contact Inverleith House.

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)