An exhibition by Amanda Willoughby The Trinity Arts Centre, Gainsborough - December 12th 2014 to January 22nd 2015

Award-winning artist Amanda Willoughby is exhibiting her work at the Trinity Arts Centre, Gainsborough over the Christmas period. Her exhibition is entitled Marsh, Meadow and Metropolis, to reflect the different habitats in which plants are found, including city environments.

Amanda has an interest in botanical illustration as a means of drawing attention to the beauty and necessity of plants and to the importance of their conservation. Her show features a plant alphabet inspired by the recent conservation and restoration of the RSPB Beckingham Marshes Nature Reserve, near Gainsborough, alongside some of her Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal award-winning illustrations of endangered meadow and cornfield flowers and urban flora.

 Amanda explains her inspiration for the project below:

'My idea for the Beckingham Marshes Plant Alphabet stemmed from the plant’s Latin and Greek botanical names, which are often long, convoluted and full of mystery.

I thought it would be interesting and fun to use the names to turn the simple alphabet frieze concept on its head so that, instead of the straightforward “A is for Apple, B is for Ball” seen on a basic learning alphabet, in my alphabet A is for the more sophisticated Alnus glutinosa, B is for the more exotic sounding Barbarea vulgaris and so on.

I wanted to use this elementary and familiar format to unravel something more complex and enigmatic – why plants have been given their cryptic botanical labels.

How, for example, did the plain (to the naked eye) and inconspicuous cock’s-foot come to have the elaborate nomenclature Dactylis glomerata? Why does the tiny water forget-me-not bear the magical-sounding name Myosotis scorpioides?

My alphabet also has a further objective - by illustrating the letters of the alphabet with magnified studies of the plants of Beckingham Marshes, zooming in on appealing features or capturing unusual viewpoints, I hope I can stimulate interest and encourage people to find out more about the plants and about the new RSPB Beckingham Marshes nature reserve'.

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