This book is a celebration of the work of the first ten years of Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society. The Society, founded in 1995, is a group of artists charged with the task of recording in watercolour paintings the flora of Britain's second oldest botanic garden, founded in 1673 by the Society of Apothecaries. About 500 paintings by fifty-six artists have been accessed from the Physic Garden archives. This book contains fifty-six reproductions of paintings, one by each artist. The plants depicted range from small alpines to magnificent trees and from food plants to those which yield life-saving drugs, for although the Physic Garden was founded for the teaching of apothecaries, it has always been a garden for the growing of the novel and the exotic. From its founding, throughout the seventeenth and earlier part of the eighteenth centuries, the Physic Garden was an international focal point for botanical endeavour. Each colour plate is accompanied by information about the plant's uses and, for some, the cultivation history at Chelsea, together with biographical details of the artist. Also included are a short essay on the role of botanical illustration today, a brief history of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society and a listing of the complete archive to date, including paintings and ink drawings.
Dr Andrew Brown is the Chairman of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society. He is a freelance botanical illustrator at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew and was, for many years, the Head of Biology at Westminster School, London.