2 May-11 Sept 2005. Founded in 1683, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology is one of the oldest public museums in the world and well worth a visit in itself.
This year, the Ashmolean's main exhibition is a display of one thousand years of botanical art in an exhibition entitled A New Flowering. This beautiful and unique collection of botanical illustrations, ranging from a drawing of a thistle made by a monk in the late 11th century to the painting of a rare Peruvian slipper orchid discovered in 2002, was put together by guest curator Dr. Shirley Sherwood.
Throughout the show, the old is continually contrasted with the new, underlining the fact that over the centuries botanical illustration has maintained an essentially unbroken tradition. For example, woodcuts of cabbages from a 16th century herbal are contrasted with modern studies of vegetables, such as Susannah Blaxill's Beetroot and Brigid Edwards' Onions.
Delicately painted flowers from illuminated manuscripts are compared with modern renditions of roses and violets by contemporary artists from all over the world.
A fully illustrated catalogue of the exhibition is available at the cost of 20. Admission free. Tues to Sat 10.00 17.00, Sun 12.00-17.00. June, July, and August the museum stays open until 19.00 on Thurs.
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1000 years of Botanical Art
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Tel. +44 1865278000. The museum is on Beaumont Street, opposite the Randolph Hotel.