EXQUISITE early 19th-century illustrations of Indian flora are the focus of the latest exhibition in the ‘Naturally Inspired’ season of botanicals, gardens and landscapes at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM).
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the East India Company controlled much of the Indian subcontinent.
Keen to exploit and export valuable natural commodities, the company set out to record the flora of India and commissioned Indian artists to create detailed botanical illustrations.
Many of the plants were known through their use in Ayurvedic medicine. One of the world’s oldest medicinal systems, it has been practiced in India for 3,000 years with plants being used to treat ailments from skin complaints, wounds and stomach ache to internal bleeding, malaria and epilepsy.
These rare and scientifically valuable drawings are a testament to the company’s contribution to the advancement of botanical science. Surviving records of wages and the pigments and papers are used to help tell the story of the artists and their specialist techniques.
Made possible by the generosity of Arts Council England’s PRISM Fund and the Finnis Scott Foundation, the exhibitions runs through to Sunday, September 11. Entry to Flower Power: Botanical illustrations from India is free.
For more information contact Gillian Taylor, Audience Development Lead for RAMM on 07761546075.
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