Title: Early New Zealand Botanical Art

Author: F. Bruce Sampson

Publication details: Reed Methuen, 1985, Auckland

Digital publication kindly authorised by: F. Bruce Sampson

Part of: New Zealand Texts Collection

Conditions of use


Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Early New Zealand Botanical Art

Subsequent history

Subsequent history

Although the subsequent history of Botanical Magazine is outside the timespan of this book, it seems worthwhile for me to summarise it. When Sir Joseph Hooker relinquished the editorship in 1904, he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Sir William Thiselton-Dyer, who was by then director of Kew. Two years later he was succeeded as editor by the new director, Sir David Prain, who remained the editor until 1920. In that year Lovell Reeve & Co. announced they could not continue publication because the Magazine had, on account of increased production costs, been published at a loss for several years. Fortunately the £250 copyright was purchased by a group of horticulturists and presented to the Royal Horticultural Society. After a year's delay, the next issue, dated 1922, was published by the Royal Horticultural Society under the editorship of Dr Otto Stapf, who had just retired from the staff of Kew.

For the next thirty years most of the drawings and lithographs (the latter made on specially prepared zinc plates rather than on limestone) were made by Miss Lilian Snelling and Miss Stella Ross-Craig (who was appointed page 67 as additional artist in 1932). Today, the journal is still published by the Royal Horticultural Society, in close association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Margaret Stones, who was born in Australia, became artist to the Botanical Magazine in 1955 and since that time she has produced most of the plates for it. Martyn Rix {The Art of the Botanist, 1981) has described Miss Stones as "probably the foremost botanical illustrator living today". Her beautifully composed watercolours almost bring the plants to life, and her eye for fine detail is unrivalled. She uses a single brush hair for inserting the finest detail, and in some watercolours one needs a magnifying lens to fully appreciate their detailed accuracy.

Sadly, as this book was going to press, it was learned that Curtis's Botanical Magazine no longer exists, at least in name. It has been incorporated in a new quarterly, Kew Magazine, the first issue of which appeared in May 1984. The new journal will continue to publish "life-size plant portraits painted by the most celebrated botanical artists".