As part of its 50th-year celebrations, the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) invites the public to the first of three special art exhibitions planned for 2014. For a limited time, starting on March 3 and concluding April 30, 2014, NTBG will hold a public exhibition of 30 exceedingly rare prints of plants collected during Captain James Cook’s 1768-1771 voyage around the world.
The exhibition will be in the Juliet Rice Wichman Botanical Research Center at NTBG’s headquarters, 3530 Papalina Road in Kalāheo, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. most weekdays. See http://ntbg.org/art and call (808) 332-7324, ext. 227 for additional information on how to view the exhibition.
These works, part of NTBG’s extensive botanical art collection, have never before been presented in a public exhibition. Made from copperplate engravings, the “Voyage” prints are one of only one hundred complete sets ever made and includes examples of plants discovered and collected by Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander explorers, botanists, and philanthropists who accompanied Cook on the 18th century expedition. Banks later commissioned the creation of the copperplates used to make the prints.
The majority of the engravings were not printed until more than two-hundred years later when the copperplates were taken out of storage at the British Museum and painstakingly used to produce the first ever complete prints from the voyage, a process which took over a decade. NTBG will be exhibiting 30 exemplary prints from the collection along with information on the plants illustrated. This exhibition is a must-see opportunity for anyone interested in art, exploration, and plants and the science behind them.
Speaking to the importance of the exhibition, Dr. John Clark, NTBG’s Co-Director of Science and Conservation and curator for the exhibition said, “These extraordinary prints stem from the marriage of art and science. From a scientific perspective, each piece is an invaluable technical rendering as important as our greatest historical texts. And as works of art, the craftsmanship and beautiful imagery is unsurpassed.”
NTBG’s Director and CEO, Chipper Wichman, called the prints “simply outstanding works of botanical art.” Wichman added, “NTBG is well known for its living collections, scientific and conservation work, but most people are unaware we are also a repository for botanical art treasures. In conjunction with our 50th year, the Garden is delighted to share these very special works that few people have ever seen.”
National Tropical Botanical Garden (www.ntbg.org) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental institution with nearly 2,000 acres of gardens and preserves in Hawaii and Florida. The institution’s mission is to enrich life through discovery, scientific research, conservation, and education by perpetuating the survival of plants, ecosystems, and cultural knowledge of tropical regions. NTBG is supported primarily through donations and grants.