Dr. Shirley Sherwood, OBE, Botanist, Author and Respected Collector of Botanical Art, credited for generating a revival of interest in botanical art across the world
The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) is proud to announce that Shirley Sherwood, OBE, Ph.D. is the recipient of its 2019 International Award of Excellence in Conservation for her lifelong work in botany through the collection, preservation, and exhibition of botanical art. The award dinner will be held on Oct. 2, 2019 at Frost Tower Fort Worth.
Since her childhood, Dr. Sherwood has been interested in both plants and art. She graduated from the University of Oxford in England with a degree in botany and earned her Ph.D. as part of the research team of Nobel Prize winner Sir James Black, whose group discovered Tagamet, one of the most successful drugs produced for the treatment of duodenal ulcers.
Inspired by her extensive travels, Dr. Sherwood began collecting botanical illustrations 30 years ago. Today, her comprehensive collection comprises nearly 1,000 artworks by 303 artists from 36 countries. It records the emergence of a new wave of botanical artists and the renaissance of their art form.
“Shirley helps connect people with plants and conservation through botanical art,” said Dr. Ed Schneider, BRIT’s executive director. “Her extensive collection of classic and contemporary botanical art and her unselfish desire to share it through her art exhibitions around the world are truly grounds to be awarded with our top conservation honor.”
In 2008, she opened The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It’s the first public gallery dedicated to classic and contemporary botanical art. In addition to holding art exhibits at her gallery, Dr. Sherwood displays her collection in various prestigious locations around the world, including Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Marciana Library in Venice, and the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid.
“Dr. Sherwood has been a central force in the renaissance of botanical art through her collection,” said Carol Woodin, director of exhibitions, American Society of Botanical Artists. “We owe her a debt of gratitude for her dedication in collecting and preserving this unique art form and making it available for the world to admire.”
A major part of Dr. Sherwood’s tremendous reach is as author and co-author on many books relating to the art form with high quality artwork reproductions, says Woodin. These have played a major role in reviving and making available to broad audiences, important historical works alongside contemporary works that might otherwise never be known. Examples of such books include: “The Art of Plant Evolution,” “Treasures of Botanical Art,” “A New Flowering: 1000 Years of Botanical Art,” “A Passion for Plants,” and “Old and New South American Botanical Art.”
BRIT’s annual award event has played an important role in raising public awareness of its mission and has brought an increased understanding of the importance of conservation issues and environmental awareness. Dr. Sherwood is the twenty-fifth recipient of the award. Tickets to BRIT’s award presentation dinner may be purchased at: http://www.brit.org/international-awards/international-award-excellence-conservation/2019-international-award