International Women's DayPosted on - 8th March 2022
The Botanist by Rachel Bishop BA. One of the many designs celebrating International Women’s Day
Moorcroft are not alone day in celebrating women. To mark International Women’s Day – and also 100 years of Suffrage – The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, also took a moment to celebrate the pioneering female researchers and scientists in botany.
Heather L Lindon and Dr Bat Vorontsova from the Gardens stated that ‘For centuries, women have been making huge contributions to the field of botany. And as in many sectors, their remarkable findings have often been hidden. However, in science there’s long been a positive tradition that keeps their names in the record books. When an herbarium specimen is named, the collector is cited. When a plant taxonomist describes a new species, their names are attached as authors. This means that we have a record of plant name authors going back to 1753, the very year that the modern plant naming system began.’
The Kew pair have highlighted the significant contribution in this field. Moorcroft knows only too well of the achievements of female botanical artists from our research over the years at the RHS Lindley Libraries. For 2021, a collection of 45 original watercolours on vellum from an album entitled ‘Fiori Bottan’ depicting cultivated plants including daffodils, anemones irises, tulips and lilies inspired Moorcroft designer, Nicola Slaney to create her Fiori Bottan Collection. ‘Fiori Bottan’ dates from the seventeenth century and the album is Italian but the artist is unknown. We will never know whether the artist was female or not but we can celebrate the work of Nicola Slaney when her designs will feature in the International Women’s Day promotion on Saturday. View Fiori Bottan
You can enjoy up to 35% off selected designs by the featured designer.
Tuesday 8th March - Rachel Bishop
Wednesday 9th March - Emma Bossons FRSA
Thursday 10th March - Kerry Goodwin
Friday 11th March - Vicky Lovatt
Saturday 12th March - Nicola Slaney
In previous years, Moorcroft have also honoured botanist, Lady Beatrix Stanley, in another collection by Nicola inspired by her incredible floral watercolour studies found again in the archives held by the RHS Lindley Library. Born the youngest daughter of the Marquees of Headfort in 1877, Lady Stanley was able to ‘grow, propagate and distribute plants which baffled others’, and was generous with both her knowledge and skill, sharing unusual plants with other enthusiasts. The works found with the Lindley Library offer a sample of the extensive collection of paintings she produced during this time, each diligently noted with genus and species, locations and dates. In truth, many early female botanists, were often painters and illustrators, and included women such as Mary Lawrence who illustrated three species of Rosa in 1799. Indeed before the Beatrix Stanley Collection, came The RHS Moorcroft Rose Bouquet Collection – six designs, based on famous roses, appearing on vases, coasters and plaques were adapted from illustrations from the likes of Mary Lawrence’s (1794 -1830) Selection of Roses From Nature. So there it is. Over the years, past botanists and present female Moorcroft designers have used their talents to celebrate one another – just as it should be!
Today, as we look at Rachel’s impressive design, The Botanist, and consider the incredible contribution to horticulture Rachel’s own mother must be credited for, we cannot fail to fall in love as flowerbeds erupt with the colour of irises and the gentle beauty of snowdrops as the ground softens and makes way for another year of life. In the earthy tones of Rachel’s Hibiscus on offer today, horticulture, botany and art combine and show us that women are flourishing in the natural world. Nevertheless, our contribution to the world is so much more.
Rennie Rose by Rachel Bishop BA
Let us also not forget that behind many successful men lies a successful women. Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) created one of the best examples of an Arts & Crafts interiors ever seen but he was championed by his wife, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, whose own artistic creations are mind blowing! In truth, even Mackintosh’s rose, his world-renowned signature, may well have come from Margaret.
Above, The May Queen by Nicola Slaney. There can be no mistaking the style of The May Queen, with its elegant, feminine linework and a muted colour palette, all of which speaks volumes for the name Mackintosh, lauded across the world. The May Queen was originally a panel in the ladies’ luncheon room situate inside Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street tearooms in Glasgow. The original panel was created by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, wife of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. No surprises here, doubly so because Nicola loves the subtle, warm colours that Margaret used.
One further example of women championing the natural world is Women for Bees is a state-of-the-art female beekeeping entrepreneurship programme launched by UNESCO and Guerlain. Implemented in UNESCO designated biosphere reserves around the world, the programme has actor, film maker and humanitarian activist Angelina Jolie for a Godmother, helping promote its twin objectives of women’s empowerment and biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
Focusing on local and native bees, their welfare and maintenance, as well as education on bees, the programme aims to enable women’s empowerment through an expertise-driven sustainable professional activity. It also aims to contribute to raising awareness of the importance of all bee species as pollinators, bearing in mind that animals play a major part in the pollination of 90% of the planet’s wild flowers.
The Pollinator by Rachel Bishop BA
‘My “Pollinators” collection focuses on a variety of flowers that attract bees. We can all perhaps plant a little more sympathetically and encourage bees, as well as having beautiful, colourful gardens. The honey bee thrives on holly during the winter, as seen on the ginger jar lid. So, my aim was to show that bees are not just for summer but that they are present all year round and need flowers from all seasons.’ -Rachel Bishop
Poppy, rosebay willowherb, clover and bramble are the colourful garden favourites that Rachel chose to adorn The Pollinators Collection, which looks at bees in different seasons.
For International Women’s Day: £386.75