Many thanks to Fife Contemporary for the VACMA grant enabling me to undertake research to develop my work inspired by the healing properties of plants.
My research led me to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh Herbarium to look at preserved plants featured in two recipes I found from the 15th and 17th century called ‘Aqua Mirablis’ and ‘Elixir Vitae’. I then went on to submerge myself in old herbals and plant illustraions from the 16th, 17th,18th centuries at The Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh (Library), Kew Gardens Library and Archive and The Linnean Society, London. The older the plant illustrations the less representational and more stylised they become, presenting a different, more magical, sense of the plant properties. I was inspired by how beautiful, evocative and expressive they were. They have had a powerful impact on my most recent paintings, those featured in ‘Recipe for a Miracle’.
Some examples of inspiring illustrations are below, by Basilius Besler, Charles Plumier and Dioscordies Pedanius of Anazarbos.