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Our Story

every one - every where - every ability


The Association of Botanical Artists (ABA) grew out of a plan by the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) to develop a world-wide botanical art exhibition.  The time line stretches back to 2011 and beyond.



A number of ASBA members meet for drinks in a historic New Hampshire hotel and float the idea for a world-wide botanical art exhibition.



ASBA holds the first formal meeting to discuss a world-wide botanical art exhibition at its Pittsburgh convention.  



ASBA again discusses plans for a worldwide botanical art exhibition and a formal commitment is made to link separate, simultaneous botanical art exhibitions in as many countries as possible. 


Each exhibition would comprise 40 pictures of the host country’s indigenous plants. Pictures were to be of the highest possible standard and selected by a rigorous and independent jury.   


Three British delegates, Gaynor Dickeson, Shevaun Docherty and Dianne Sutherland meet in a Pittsburgh hotel and resolve to put together a steering group to represent native plant botanical art from the United Kingdom.


The agreed name for the group would be the Association of British Botanical Artists (ABBA).  Gaynor Dickeson invited to lead the initiative.  


The group met again back in the UK, with Sarah Morrish invited to join the steering committee.  This was ABBA’s first official meeting.  



Early February call for submissions for the exhibition. Entries are due by November 2017.

Exhibition promoted in the Royal Horticultural Society magazine and RHS Lindley Library. 


Dawn Jolliffe Bursary gives £2,000 to help ABBA stage the exhibition.

Selection jury announced, includes Martin Rix - botanist and editor of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, Brent Elliot - historian at the Lindley Library, Christabel King - chief botanical artist at Kew and Helen Allen - owner of the Chelsea School of Botanical Art.


A new website developed by Sarah Morrish is launched, with a Facebook Group and Twitter account created.


Over sixty entries submitted and the judges asked to reduce to 40 based on artistic merit and scientific botanical accuracy.

Exhibition catalogue produced by Sarah Morrish "In Ruskins Footsteps". Contains 40 final pieces or artwork and artists profiles.

The forty selected pictures exhibited in the Peter Scott Gallery Lancaster University from Friday 18 May till Saturday 8 June together with a slideshow of all 27 countries published images. 


The slide show is simultaneously shown in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens, Chelsea Physic Garden and in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Lindley Library.

The Society of Botanical Artists also runs a programme to support the event .


- Following the exhibition and subsequent discussions with enthusiastic botanical artists it was decided there was a need for a continuing ABBA presence. -


Survey of over 200 interested artists conducted.


ABBA founding principles defined from the survey responses and the association ethos formed.


The association would be for:


"every one" - "every where" - "every ability"

Core steering committee is formed comprising Gaynor Dickeson, Elaine Allison, Alan Cody and Robin Dickeson and calls are made for trustees.

Dr Shirley Sherwood agrees to become the Founding Patron.


ABBA officially launched as an Association on March 21st.


New website and other social collaborative tools released.


Association Social Media channels are established - Instagram, Facebook and (then) Twitter. 


The association changes its name  to the Association of Botanical Artists (ABA) to reflect its growing international membership.


The association gains Charity status.

Our Founding Principles

  • to educate a wider international audience about the importance and beauty of plants.

  • understanding that without plants there would be no planet

  • a focus on scientifically accurate botanical art often with an artistic element influenced by the medium.

  • an organisation open to all with no prerequisites for membership.

  • foster relationships with organisations who offer information on plant identification and plant ecology promoting a wider knowledge and enjoyment of the plant kingdom.

  • collaborate with members to promote and exhibit their work.

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