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Singapore Botanic Gardens Desk Calendar 2022

Singapore Botanic Gardens Desk Calendar 2022

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The botanical watercolours featured in this calendar were painted between 1894 and 1949 by artists James and Charles de Alwis, Jean Kinloch Smith and Juraimi bin Samsuri.  These artworks are part of the Gardens’ archives which include more than 2,000 botanical paintings, as well as hundreds of sketches, line drawings and photographs.

 The Gardens’ collection began in 1890 when its first director, Henry Nicholas Ridley, employed James de Alwis to produce botanical illustrations of rare plants from the Malay Peninsula. James left the Gardens in 1894. His brother Charles became the Gardens’ artist from 1900 to 1907. It is not uncommon that paintings started by James were completed by Charles and therefore bear both artists’ names. Altogether there are about 420 drawings by the de Alwis brothers in the Gardens’ collections. Their work is primarily aimed at plant identification: the emphasis is placed on the scientific accuracy of the subject depicted and includes detailed dissections. Juraimi bin Samsuri, employed at the Gardens from 1941 to 1971, was a prolific and versatile artist. He painted almost 400 pieces, some extremely accurate, others placing more emphasis on the visual value of the artwork than on minute details. He also produced hundreds of pen and ink illustrations for scientific publications. Jean Kinloch Smith was a British woman who lived in Singapore from 1947 to 1953, during which time she painted orchids and other flowering plants at the Gardens. Her style of depiction focuses on the visual appeal of the subject rather than on capturing detailed plant features.

 Since March 2021, a selection of the best and most representative artworks in the Gardens’ collections have been on display in the newly opened Botanical Art Gallery. Located within the Gallop Extension, the gallery is one of the Gardens’ two black and white houses designed by British architect Regent Alfred John Bidwell.

Dimensions: 30 cmm by 17cm