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For the Love of Orchids Collection

In April 2022 a simple memorial plaque was placed at the burial site of Nelly Roberts, the first orchid artist for the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Orchid Committee and a bunch of orchids was laid beside it by the current RHS orchid artist Deborah Lambkin.

The sheer beauty that this watercolourist’s brush captured during her 56-year career as an illustrator for the RHS Orchid Committee is incalculable, diffusing her talent on generations to come in much the same way as the forefather of Moorcroft pottery, William Moorcroft, born like Nelly in 1872, left a legacy of cultural heritage in the ceramic idiom. Nelly’s illustrations received no global fame outside of the horticultural world and yet are the most exquisite illustrations you are ever likely to observe – it is almost as if the orchids are unfurling before your very eyes to create a piece of heaven. The first and, to date, longest serving RHS orchid artist, Nelly was employed to paint life-sized illustrations of award winning orchids. These built a reference collection of images of cultivars and hybrids for the Society that are held within the RHS Lindley Collections. Nelly left behind over 4,500 studies of orchids, which have been lovingly commemorated by Moorcroft designer, Nicola Slaney, in For The Love of Orchids RHS Collection to mark the 150th Anniversary of her birth in October this year.

In much the same way as William Moorcroft, potter extraordinaire, was inspired by flowers as he sought to set the world of Art Nouveau ablaze with his Florian ware designs, Nelly was inspired to capture the orchids she painted in glorious detail.

Nelly lived and worked in a room above the family shop at 72 Loughborough Road in Brixton. ‘Very shy & retiring,’ she painted away in a ‘small, neat but rather cold room’, according to The Orchid Review. With sheer determination, notwithstanding rheumatoid arthritis and chilblains, the celebrated RHS illustrator worked tirelessly for the RHS until 1953, Coronation year. This year, as Great Britain celebrates a Platinum Jubilee, five Moorcroft designs, each holding a different orchid cultivar or hybrids inspired by Nelly’s work, and even orchids holding her own name, will blossom in fired earth as a worldwide testament to the genius of Nelly Roberts.

15th October - Happy Birthday Nelly Roberts! - Watch Video 

Almandin - Plaque Almandin - Plaque

Almandin
PLQ7

£170.00
The Dell - Jug The Dell - Jug

Numbered Edition

The Dell
JU9

£595.00
Rameses - Ginger Jar Rameses - Ginger Jar

Numbered Edition

Rameses
769/6

£745.00
Nelly Roberts - Vase Nelly Roberts - Vase

Limited Edition

Nelly Roberts
364/12

£895.00
Vine House - Clock Vine House - Clock

Vine House
CL1

£295.00