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Spring Symposium Part One // Rare Botanical Treasures From the Lenhardt Library at the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Charleston Library Society

March 7 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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In collaboration with the Lenhardt Library, Chicago Botanic Garden, and The Gibbes Museum of Art, the Charleston Library Society is so pleased to host one of our two-part Symposium Series to highlight the rare and key works of botanical illustration that can be found within our archives along with the interesting overlaps among like-minded institutions. Examples relevant to the talk will be on display.

Thursday evening, Library Society member Ben Lenhardt will make introductory remarks followed by Leora Siegel, Senior Director, Lenhardt Library, who will walk through a visual presentation that explores the work of  the renowned naturalists, explorers and scientists who influenced the evolution of Botanical Art. She will also speak to the current state of Botanical Illustration and its revival given our current environment, endangered species and renewed interest in an art form that we continue to cherish generations after its beginnings.

Friday’s discussion, led by Laura Mina, together with Leora Siegel, and Claudia Lane, President of the American Society of Botanical Artists and a noted botanical artist and instructor, will more specifically review many of the actual works held in the Library Society archives in conjunction with a private tour of the new botanical exhibition at the Gibbes Museum of Art – Rory McEwen—A New Perspective on Nature – led by Sara Arnold, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Gibbes of Museum of Art; Ruth Stiff, Curator, International Exhibitions, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and Claudia Lane. The curated tour will focus on what influenced McEwen and others,  how and why certain species are brought to life, and the various methods used in the past and today.

TICKETS: There are two ticket options for this program: CLICK HERE

EVENING PROGRAM ONLY (Thursday, March 7)  $30 // Admission to the lecture on Thursday, 6:00 PM–7:00 PM.

TWO-DAY SYMPOSIUM (Thursday, March 7 & Friday,  March 8) – $130 // Admission to Thursday’s lecture, plus the extended session on Friday, from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, which will include a boxed lunch.

About the Lenhardt Library and Chicago Botanic Garden:

The Chicago Botanic Garden opened over 50 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers boasting 28 gardens and four natural areas as well as a renowned Bonsai Collection. Its origins trace back to the Chicago Horticultural Society which was founded in 1890, but restarted in 1943 after a period of inactivity and restored to its mission.

The Lenhardt Library at the Chicago Botanic Garden contains 150,000 volumes – including a magnificent collection of approximately 2,500 rare books and 2,000 historic periodical titles acquired from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 2002 – and offers an extensive general collection of books and journals on subjects such as botany, horticulture, gardening, plant conservation, restoration ecology, horticultural therapy, Midwest flora, international flora, landscape and garden design. In addition, the library maintains an extensive periodicals collection of about 150 print and online subscriptions to academic journals, horticulture journals, gardening magazines, plant society journals, and newsletters.

About the Rory McEwen Exhibition:

Presenting the vibrant and varied career of the renowned Scottish artist, Rory McEwen (1932 –1982), this exhibition reveals McEwen’s lifelong enquiry into light and color through his remarkable paintings of plants. Bringing a modern sensibility to botanical art, McEwen developed a distinctive style, painting on vellum and using large empty backgrounds on which his plant portraits seem to float. Without shadows and executed in exact, minutely accurate detail, he recorded the imperfect and the unique, as well as the flawless. McEwen’s work, shown in this exhibition alongside the works of master botanical artists from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, “has had a lasting impact on the botanical art world, where he is recognized as one of the standard-bearers of today’s renaissance in botanical painting.”

The Exhibition, Rory McEwen: A New Perspective on Nature, is presented by the Gibbes Museum of Art in association with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (London) and Oak Spring Garden Foundation (Virginia); tour management by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.


Charleston Library Society
164 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401 United States
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