Crispian Riley-Smith Fine Arts Ltd

Press Releases



5-7 December 2008
At The Crown Hotel, Crown Place, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 2RZ


This exciting exhibition of Five Contemporary Botanical Artists proves to be a number of firsts. This will be the first exhibition that Crispian Riley-Smith has devoted entirely to botanical watercolours. It will be the first time that The Highgrove Florilegium will be exhibited in Yorkshire. This will be a unique opportunity for enthusiasts of the work of Evelyn Binns to see and purchase her work before it is shown in New York in January as part of ‘Master Drawings New York’. Finally it is the first time that Crispian Riley-Smith has joined up with a sponsor, another Yorkshire based business, Brewin Dolphin, the UK’s largest independent private client investment manager.

Five Contemporary Botanical Artists will show works by female artists: Evelyn Binns, Sally Crosthwaite, Brigitte Daniel, Valerie Dugan and Belinda Noble. This exhibition will be a perfect opportunity for lovers of all things in the garden, as well as those members of the public who want to enjoy the passion of this wonderful art form. Botanical watercolour painting is going through a Renaissance, and some of the best artists are British. This show will be a contemporary reflection of the beauty of the natural world, individually expressed by each of the artists.   

The Highgrove Florilegium

At the instigation of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales many of the leading botanical artists from around the world have been painting examples of the plants and trees growing in his garden at Highgrove in Gloucestershire. Distinguished botanists have been working with David Howard, the former Head Gardener at Highgrove to ensure that a representative selection of species should display every facet of this great garden. In recent years renewed world-wide interest in the field of botanical painting has taken this long established art form to an altogether higher level.  

The publishers of ‘The Highgrove Florilegium’, Addison Publications, have kindly agreed to lend a copy of the volume to the current exhibition. Evelyn Binns and Sally Crosthwaite have both participated in this volume. Anne Marie Evans, who developed the Diploma Course in Botanical Painting at the Chelsea Physic Garden has said:   Whereas the florilegia of the 17th Century were created to portray the beauty and novelty of those plants brought back from the colonies, the modern florilegium may be seen as a conservation tool, instrumental in recording for posterity collections of plants within a chosen garden’ [The Daily Telegraph, Saturday 26 April 2008].  


Crispian Riley-Smith FINE DRAWINGS Summergill, Kirkby Malham, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 4BS, ENGLAND
Tel/ Fax: +44 (0)1729 830 734
Mobile: + 44 (0)7771 552509  

Charlie Thompson Assistant Director Brewin Dolphin Apollo House, Eboracum Way,York, YO31 7RE Tel: 0845 213 4911

The exhibition is Free and is open from 10am-6pm.

Evelyn Binns (Orpington 1945)  

Combining her lifelong love of flowers with a remarkable talent for capturing their essence on paper and vellum, Evelyn Binns is a botanical watercolour artist with an established reputation for fine artistic quality and precise botanical accuracy. Painted at actual size from living specimens, her subjects range enormously: from native wild flowers to rain forest exotics; from cottage garden favourites to hothouse hybrids; from fungi to fruit and vegetables. Evelyn has been awarded no fewer than seven Gold Medals at the Royal Horticultural Society’s London Winter Shows for her studies of camellias, orchids, heritage vegetables, narcissi, carnivorous plants and two collections of hellebores. She has also illustrated a variety of educational reference books for leading publishers and was commissioned by the prestigious Curtis’s Botanical Magazine to provide studies for colour plate and front cover reproduction. Evelyn’s watercolour originals are much in demand and are bought or commissioned by collectors worldwide. Her work can be found in the collections of the RHS Lindley Library, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, The Royal Hospital Chelsea and Dr Shirley Sherwood. She also has pictures in other private Royal collections. 

Sally Crosthwaite (1944)

During the last fourteen years Sally has been able to concentrate full-time on her paintings which have been used for a wide range of products - tablemats, trays, book illustration, cards and porcelain. Her tulip and fruit paintings appear on sixteen porcelain plates and four tulips were chosen for a Limoges dinner service. Her Agapanthus also features on a dinner service.  Sally has exhibited in galleries in the west end of London and internationally.  Sally was awarded an RHS GOLD MEDAL for her paintings of plants in the Iridaceae family. Also a further shared RHS GOLD Medal for plants introduced by Philip Miller. She was awarded Distinction on a Diploma Course on Botanical Illustration at the Chelsea Physic Garden. Her work has been acquired by The Chelsea Physic Garden, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kewand The Hunt Institute, USA as well as many interesting private collections. Her work has been selected for the book of the Highgrove Florilegium which has been created by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation to record the flowers in the garden at Highgrove. Sally particularly enjoys painting flowers in the Iris family, tulips, snowdrops, Christmas roses and fruit, vegetables She is a member of the Society of Botanical Artists and Founder Member of The Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society.

Brigitte E.M. Daniel SBA (Beaconsfield 1959)

  Surrounded by beautiful beech woodlands and rolling countryside of rural Buckinghamshire, Brigitte’s childhood was idyllic and spent ‘discovering things’. Outside, either with her nose to the ground or equally likely, up a tree! Thus began what has become a life-long love affair with the natural world and its inhabitants. This relationship with nature had to change as illness began to rob Brigitte of her health, and trying to relive its diversity and intricate beauty on paper became very important. The illness progressed, and the relentless fight with terrible, painful and diverse medical conditions and operations baffled experts and cost Brigitte her academic career in Botany at UCL. Drawing and painting became a life-line for Brigitte and provided a way of coping with what was happening to her. Eventually a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome was made and linked all these medical conditions, but has left Brigitte fragile and physically damaged. With support from her husband she has been able to join and exhibit with SBA and the RHS (where she has been awarded six gold medals and one silver gilt). Her work is held in the RHS Lindley Library, The National Gallery and Museum of Wales, the Dr Shirley Sherwood collection and many private collections worldwide. Her work has been used to illustrate step-by-step projects in the Art of Botanical Painting and in The Botanical Palette. She has been featured in the Artists and Illustrators magazine and her work has also been used for greetings cards. She has been a tutor on the SBA’s popular distance learning course since it started. Her awards from the ‘Society of Botanical Artists’ include Certificates of Botanical Merit in 1997, 2006 and 2008. The Joyce Cuming Presentation Award 2007 and The People’s Choice 2007 and six gold medals from the Royal Horticultural Society.                                   

Valerie Dugan (Morden 1943)  

Valerie is a highly experienced Botanical Artist and Calligrapher who lives and works in the charming Cotswold village of Painswick in Gloucestershire. She gained a scholarship at the age of thirteen to Sutton Art School where the Headmaster Edward Bulley, well known for his illuminated bibles in Westminster Cathedral, started her in her life long love of Calligraphy. She started botanical painting in 2000 and at that time became a member of the Gloucestershire Society for Botanical Illustration. Valerie paints mainly in watercolour on 300gm Fabriano Classico watercolour paper using multiple layers of paint to create the vibrant depth of colours. In January 2004 she submitted paintings to the Royal Horticultural Society in London and was awarded a Silver Medal for her Acer leaves. She exhibited her work in the Royal Horticultural Society in January 2007 show where she again was awarded a Silver Medal this time for her Orchid paintings. She is now one of the official Orchid painters for the RHS painting award winning plants. Her paintings are exhibited widely and many are to be found in various private collections. Recently she had her first one woman show at the Wycliffe College in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire. She is a member of many societies and has won numerous awards over the years and she is proud to have one of her calligraphic designs accepted as part of the National Silver Trust collection.    

Belinda Noble (Calcutta 1955)  

Belinda’s interest in Botanical Illustration and Plant Portraits has evolved out of a life-long passion for plants instilled in her from an early age by her parents who were both gifted and knowledgeable gardeners. All her illustrations are life size and drawn from live specimens, many of which she grows herself. She uses the traditional medium of watercolour on paper for the original paintings using many layers of paint to build up to the vibrant colours which make her painting so striking. She was thrilled to win a Silver medal at one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s winter shows in London for her paintings of Capsicums which she had only executed just 18 months after taking up a paintbrush for the first time. One of the paintings-Capsicum frutescns Malagutea is to be used in a book ‘A Herança Africana em Portugal (The African Heritage in Portugal) written by Isabel Castro Henriques, a well known Portuguese Author. Belinda has also recently been invited to join the team of artists contributing to a Florilegium for Nymans Gardens, belonging to the National Trust in West Sussex where there are extensive collections of plants from around the world.