This website contains works by Victoria Crowe OBE, MA(RCA), RSA, RSW and images taken from 16th century herbals in the College Library. The books on this website provided some of the source material used by Victoria Crowe in her 2007 Royal Scottish Academy Exhibitions RSA exhibition - Plant Memory. Enjoy Victoria’s art and look at some of the renaissance illustrations that have inspired her new work.
Medicine has always been linked to plants. The Library of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh was started by the doctor and botanist Sir Robert Sibbald and has included botanical works since 1682. It is very appropriate that one of the first ventures of the College’s new Sibbald Historic Library Project should be botanical in nature.
Victoria Crowe has previous connections with the Edinburgh College. Her acclaimed portait of her friend, the past president of the College, evangalist for evidence based medicine and founder of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network Professor Jim Petrie (1941-2001) takes pride of place in the College’s Queen Mother Conference Centre.
The works in Victoria’s beautiful RSA exhibition took seed from a conversation during another portrait commision. Victoria was painting another fellow of the Royal College of Physicans of Edinburgh the former Regius Professor of the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden, Professor David Ingram of St Catharine's College, Cambridge and talk turned to a new collaborative research concerning the use of living and preserved specimens in Botanic Gardens, Libraries, Museums and Herbaria in Edinburgh, Cambridge and Venice. Assisted by Professor Ingram Victoria immersed herself in research, initially working towards a new suite of etchings and a book of mixed media prints to 'publish' her findings.
David Ingram was also involved in the collaborative project between the College that resulted in the Sibbald Physic garden. Victoria Crowe was photographed in the Sibbald Garden on Friday the 21st September with one of the works that she consulted.
The books you can see here span the 16th century (the earliest was printed before Michaelangelo started painting the Sistine Chapel, and they show the development of botanical knowledge and the gradual improvement in illustration and printing techniques. As you would expect there are lots of beautiful images of plants; but there are also intriguing insights into social history and wonderful examples of the craftsmanhip of renaissance printers.
More details of the Colleges extraordinary library can be found here.