ICENI BOTANICAL ARTISTS



A warm welcome to the Iceni Botanical Artists website!

We are a friendly group, and our aim is to promote the creation and enjoyment of botanical art and illustration of the highest standard. We have a simple application process, where you get a chance to tell us a bit about you, and we take a look at a few samples of your work.

Please note: Due to the nature of our exhibitions and group events, we are unable to offer membership to artists living outside Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Current Membership is full (February 2024)Future vacancies will be advertised here when available .

We are very sorry to disappoint, but do hope artists from beyond East Anglia find a similar group in their region.


TO MAKE A JOINING ENQUIRY:

Contact Tina Bone, Chair, directly by email:

iceni@tinasfineart.uk

Please put "Enquiry - Joining IBA" in the subject field of your email.


HOW TO BUY: Visitors are invited to make any purchase enquiries direct to the artist where contact details are available

OR via the contact form. 

PLEASE NOTE: 

We do not host an online shop.

We do forward all expressions of interest to our artists, with all purchases and payments being made direct between purchaser and artist.




 

Thank you for visiting Iceni Botanical Artists!



Kathryn Ball

Isobel Bartholomew

Lucille Carter

Francesca Cowie

Sue Crick

Jackie Day

Rosemary Dodgson

Rob Dyke

Christine Grey-Wilson: Honorary Member

Rene Griffin

Julia Groves

Vicky Hallam

Sandie Hawkins

Bridgette James

Alison Jones

Georgie Kuna

Zoe Norman

Sheila O'Brien

Matthew Peace

Sandra Pond

Reinhild Raistrick

Hazel Rush

Ruth Simpson

Doreen Taylor

Sally Tollhurst

Jan Toomer

Sarah-Jane Tweed

`Karen West

Anne Wormack

HOW TO BUY

Visitors are invited to make any purchase enquiries direct to the artist IF contact details are available

OR via the contact form. 

PLEASE NOTE: 

We do not host an online shop.

We do forward all expressions of interest to our artists, with all purchases and payments being made direct between purchaser and artist.

17/05/2024

Illustrating Early Summer Flowers with Reinhild Raistrick

Held at Fuller's Mill wonderful garden, accomplished artist Reinhild Raistrick SBA Fellow, and IBA member, is delivering two 2-day botanical illustration courses over the summer on 3rd - 4th of June, and 16th - 17th of September. Booking required. £110.00. Equipment list supplied on booking. By phone: Fulliers Mill - 01284 728888 during normal office hours Mon - Fri. By email: Lesley Bermingham - lbermingham@perennial.org.uk

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08/05/2024

IBA in Bloom 9th - 21st July

Not long to go, don't forget to put the date in your diary!

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04/12/2023

2024 IBA Annual Exhibition - 'IBA in Bloom'

Exhibition to be held at Becket’s Chapel, Wymondham, Monday 8th July to Sunday 21st July 2024: Details to follow in 2024

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04/12/2023

Workshops and Group Visits 2024

WORKSHOP: Coloured Pencil with Matthew Peace, Santon Downham, Jan 2024. WORKSHOP: Painting on vellum with Jackie Day, Santon Downham, May 2024. GROUP VISIT: Kingfisher Nature Reserve, guided tour, May or June 2024. GROUP VISIT: Cambridge Botanic Gardens, guided tour, May or June 2024. GROUP VISIT: Benton End, House and Garden Trust, 2025.

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30/03/2022

IBA Annual Members Exhibition 2025 - Fuller's Mill Project

Fuller's Mill Garden Project - culmination of project, book publication launch. Venue TBC.

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Some History image
In 2003 Isobel Bartholomew and her husband moved to West Norfolk. As a botanical artist she had previously been exhibiting in Bedfordshire and London for several years, and invigorated by the move she began to look for galleries and local group exhibitions where she could carry on from where she left off.


Isobel entered paintings into shows of work by local artists and her botanical work was hung amongst mixed art styles. Having visited several exhibitions she became aware of two things. Firstly that there were several other flower painters exhibiting, and more importantly, that the genre of Botanical Art did not sit too comfortably amongst all the other styles of landscapes, animal studies, portraits etc. etc.
An idea began to form that as there were other botanical artists in the East Anglian area that they might like to come together to form a new group, solely devoted to painting the plant kingdom. In February 2010 a meeting was held and Iceni Botanical Artists was born with some 23 members.


IBA's first exhibition was held in August 2010 at The Edmunds Gallery, Bury St. Edmunds, entitled “For the Love of Flowers”. The show of paintings and drawings celebrating the beauty and diversity of plants was a great success and highlighted the varying styles of members. While some enjoyed painting plant portraits with accurate detail, others had great skill at capturing habitat landscapes or more impressionistic representations. Every year since then we have held one or two exhibitions a year, moving locations to Galleries in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.


In 2014 we worked on a three year “Breaking New Ground” Project funded by a Heritage Lottery Grant, teaching the painting of the wild flowers, insects, local landscapes (featuring pine trees), and fungi. The Brecks landscape, which is at the heart of IBA’s area, is rich in biodiversity and rare flora and fauna. The twelve local workshops taught by IBA tutors, proved very popular, introducing some 250 people for free to the delights of the Brecks.


Later IBA members produced 45 plant portraits of some of the rare and endangered wild flowers of the Breckland area such as Spiked speedwell (Veronica spicata), Perennial knawel (Scleranthus perennis), Breckland Thyme ( Thymus serpyllum) and Spanish catchfly ( silene otites). The whole display was taken on a touring exhibition to 6 locations, including the RHS in London.  The following book “Breckland Wild Flowers – Heaths and Grasslands” was first published in 2016 and is into its third edition.



We are a friendly group, and our aim is to promote the creation and enjoyment of botanical art and illustration of the highest standard. We have a simple application process, where you get a chance to tell us a bit about yourself, and we take a look at a few samples of your work.

  • Membership of the Group shall be granted to new applicants after submission of 3 pieces of botanical work completed within the last three years. The work should be submitted digitally by email or from a link to a personal website. This work will be reviewed by the Membership Sub Committee and on acceptance there will be no further selection of a member’s work prior to exhibitions.
  • The aim of the Group is to encourage and practise a high standard of botanical art and to organise an annual exhibition of members’ work. All members should, whenever possible, contribute to the exhibitions with new work, and be available for stewarding tasks.
  • An annual subscription fee of £25 shall become due at the AGM (held annually in October or November). The amount shall be reviewed from time to time at the discretion of the committee. For new members joining within the last three months of the financial year the fee shall be pro-rata.
  • The number of members in the group at any one time is limited to 30. 
  • Apart from an annual exhibition, the Group aims to organise two other events per year such as workshops, or trips in the widest botanical form. From time to time the group will also consider ongoing “Special Projects” of a botanical nature in which all members will be invited to participate.
  • In addition to IBA exhibition entries (upon written request by IBA Members who have received outside awards and prizes within the last two years) non-selling exhibits of the award-winning artwork only may be displayed at the Annual or other IBA Exhibitions at the discretion of the Committee.


JOINING EQUIRIES:

Contact the Chair Tina Bone directly by email:
iceni@tinasfineart.uk

Please put "Enquiry - Joining IBA" in the subject field of your email.




In 2022 Iceni Botanical Artists (IBA) decided that they would like another project. Between 2014–16 they had successfully combined with a large Breckland area study (funded by Heritage Lottery) to produce paintings of rare and endangered wild flowers, which culminated in production of their book “Breckland Wild Flowers—Heaths and Grasslands” (see below).
But now it was time to come together again on something new. They were invited to work in Fullers Mill Garden, West Stow, Suffolk, just north of Bury St Edmunds, a garden of some seven acres on the banks of the River Lark.
Fullers Mill is an RHS Partner garden, winning Partner Garden of the Year Award for the Midlands and East Anglia region in 2021 and 2022. It was the creation of the late Bernard Tickner MBE who, with his wife Bess, started developing the garden in 1958 from woodland and rough scrub. Bernard and his wife travelled throughout Europe and beyond to gather rare and unusual plants for the garden. In 2004 The Fullers Mill Trust was formed and still funds the garden. In 2013 it was gifted to the Perennial Charity, a Gardeners Royal Benevolent Society, which looks after people working in horticulture and their families.
The garden is divided into five distinct areas which include woodland shade, a Mill Pond with moisture loving plants and a Mediterranean-style garden with poor soil with dry conditions. Bernard’s original planting reflected well his love of plant form, texture and colour all year round.
Iceni Artists have chosen plants to paint from a list of 72 plants provided by Fullers Mill which includes trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. As the project has progressed, IBA members have subsequently added their personal favourites and the plant list now numbers 92. Also included in the project are portrayals of the fauna which visit the garden as well as landscape vistas. The paintings for the project should all be completed by Autumn 2024. Preparations for an exhibition and a book of selected artworks is already in hand and will be available some time in 2025.

The Breckland Project

After fifty years as a field botanist, I still feel a rising feeling of anticipation whenever I see the lines of contorted Scots pines that mark the Breckland landscape. Here I came looking for botanical rarities as a young botanist, scouring the patches of heathland and the field margins and the wilder roadside verges for the plants found here and nowhere else in England. I had come over from the lush green pastureland of Cheshire to a completely different world of clear skies and intense light, of sandy and chalky soils, of unfamiliar crops like rye, and of flowers known to me only from books. And I remember my excitement at finding two rare catchflies, the diminutive Silene conica amongst the low grasses and the bold upstanding inflorescences of Spanish catchfly Silene otites waving in the breeze on a verge. 

But it is not only the rarities that excite you here in the Breckland. The common flowers like the poppies and viper’s bugloss also take on an unexpected brilliance in the clear air and open flatlands. Now in this book we can enjoy these botanical treasures captured by superb illustrations, contributed by the members of the Iceni Botanical Artists. This book is a Florilegium, a gathering of flowers. In Medieval times this Latin term was used for a writings brought together, and a music consort now uses the term to indicate its own gathering of our rare and precious musical heritage. Later, when coloured illustration become commoner the meaning broadened to include collections of flower paintings. We now reserve the same word but in Greek—‘anthology’, knowledge of flowers for collections of poems and prose. This book is very special, since it is a record of the floral diversity of the unique landscape of Breckland through art, the first of its kind and including both the incredibly rare Breckland specialities and the commonplace eye-catchers all around us. 

Botanical art is itself a remarkable thing—it is a bridge between art and science. In a botanical picture, we view the whole piece and enjoy its design, its composition, the use of colour and shading as we would in any artwork, but we look for more. The illustration should be an accurate representation of a plant in detail, so that a botanist can use it for identification, or confirmation of an idea. So we need details of floral structures, the shapes of petals and sepals, even the depiction and distribution of hairs on the species. In this way, the illustration is also a scientific document, recording the artist’s painstaking scrutiny of the plant, and stands alongside a written description prepared by a botanist as a definitive record of the diversity of nature. 

In this beautiful book we have wonderful art and an aid to scientific identification, but we have more. Take a tiny green flower, almost at the limit of your vision, magnify it many times and then record what you see. The artists here have revealed to us the beauty of this world of flowers that, due to our own narrow view, is normally hidden. So botanical art at its finest transcends both the scientific excellence and artistry—see some of the Breckland rarities illustrated here to comprehend this. It has been an enormous pleasure for me to enjoy the development of this collection of Breckland floral paintings by the Iceni group over the years, and in a small way to contribute by helping facilitate a magnificent exhibition held in Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, in 2015. Now I can see and enjoy the Breckland flora every day in this magnificent book. The Iceni Artists are to be congratulated on their achievements in art and in science. John Parker (Emeritus Professor, Clare Hall, Cambridge)

The inspiration to paint the wild flowers of Breckland followed the publication of the UK Biodiversity Audit by the UEA in 2010. It identified that nearly one third of the UK’s Biodiversity Action Plan Species are to be found in the Brecks, with 56 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 4 National Nature Reserves and 26 Rare and endangered plants. Many members of Iceni Botanical Artists lived in or close-by to Breckland and it seemed a natural and necessary project to take on, although photographs of the plants were being publicised in pamphlets and local press, no botanical body of work could be found depicting a comprehensive collection of paintings with such attention to botanically accurate detail. It took three years to produce the 45 watercolours and many difficulties were experienced. We are grateful to the help given by local botanist Yvonne Leonard, an expert on the Breckland area and its plants, who identified plants and growing sites, and in some instances, allowed us use of the plants naturally growing in her garden. Many of the plants are very small, growing close to the ground on the poor sandy Breckland soils and required not only the morning sun to open the minute flowers, but also magnifying lenses to secure the drawings. 

The Project has aimed at taking the paintings on travelling exhibitions around Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), London, throughout 2016/17 and also to publish an accompanying book that could also act as a catalogue to the exhibitions. None of this would have been possible without the enthusiasm, expertise and donation of time by Iceni Botanical Artist members, and funding support generously given by The Finnis Scott Foundation, The Breckland Society, The John Jarrold Trust and Mr Bernard Tickner of Fuller’s Mill Garden, to all of whom I offer my sincere and grateful thanks. 

When exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Society in 2016 the paintings included in this book received a Silver Gilt Medal.


Isobel Bartholomew, Iceni Botanical Artists

  • Norwich, England, United Kingdom