Praised as one of the most accomplished botanical artists of the twentieth century, Margaret Stones served as the principal illustrator for Curtis's Botanical Magazine of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, for twenty-five years. A recipient of the Silver and Gold Royal Horticultural Society Veitch Memorial Medals and the Garden Club of America's Eloise Payne Luquer Medal, Stones established a new standard for botanical illustration during her long career. In 1975, Louisiana State University chancellor Paul W. Murrill commissioned Stones to create a series of drawings of native Louisiana plants and described the outcome of that project as "a modern-day equivalent of John James Audubon's Birds of America".
Stones's illustrations of Louisiana's native flora – eventually totaling over 200 exquisite watercolour drawings – inspired the 1980 LSU Press publication of a large folio of twelve loose prints and, in 1991, the release of Flora of Louisiana: Watercolor Drawings by Margaret Stones. Select originals composed a traveling exhibition hosted by numerous venues including the Louisiana State Museum; the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh; and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Decades after their completion, Stones's drawings of Louisiana flora remain on display in museums and serve as an exceptional resource in the LSU Libraries' Special Collections.
Treasured by gardeners, art collectors, and botanists in and out of Louisiana, this contribution to Stones's oeuvre highlights the diversity of endemic plant species in southeastern North America and along the Gulf Coast. Drawn only from fresh plants gathered under the guidance of LSU professor Lowell E. Urbatsch, Stones's detailed and captivating depictions remain a lasting and unprecedented study of the state's natural beauty.
This new edition offers the first complete collection of Stones's Louisiana illustrations on archival, acid-free paper, reproduced in elegant, oversize prints. Paired with botanical descriptions by Urbatsch, these exceptional museum-quality reproductions of the artist's watercolors provide intimate access to the precision and delicacy that define Stones's mastery.
Margaret Stones, born in Australia in 1920, worked as the principal contributing artist for Curtis's Botanical Magazine, where she completed over 400 botanical drawings between 1958 and 1983. She contributed 254 drawings for a six-volume work, The Endemic Flora of Tasmania, and her life's work is the subject of Beauty in Truth: The Botanical Art of Margaret Stones, by Irena Zdanowicz. A member of the Order of the British Empire and the Order of Australia, Stones holds honorary degrees from the University of Melbourne, Louisiana State University, the University of Tasmania, Hobart, and the Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne.
Lowell E. Urbatsch is professor of botany and herbarium director emeritus at Louisiana State University.