Picture Profile 2301: Galanthus Richard Ayres.

In January 2022, the Iceni Botanical Artists, IBA (of which I am a member, and Chair from November 2021–), decided that their next botanical project would be to paint a year of the flora and fauna in Fullers Mill Garden, West Stow, Suffolk, designed and planted by Bernard Tickner and his wife, Bess. It was decided that it should be a two-year project and completion of all artworks was set for 1st January 2024.

Annie Delbridge, head gardener (with permission from the Charity Perennial who now look after the garden) supplied the IBA with a list of plants which grow in the garden and the animals, birds, insects, fish etc., which live in or visit the garden. Iceni Artists have been free to choose which plants, vistas and fauna they would like to depict and it is hoped that we will hold an exhibition of all the artworks, as well as publishing a book with a selection of paintings.

My main task for the project is to paint 12 snowdrops – some rare, some not so, and others which are different, for example, white and yellow flowers and parts, rather than white and green.

Artist Code 2301. Galanthus “Richard Ayres”. Water colour on Aquarelle Arches 100% cotton paper 140lb. 10″ x 14″. Completed 20th January 2023

This is the third in a series of 12 paintings (formerly 11!) of snowdrops for the IBA Fullers Mill Project. This startling flower, when you lift the head and peep below the petticoat of petals is stunning. There are quite a few variations in the number of outer petals and inner rings as well as the patterns on the inner sepals. Most intriguing.

Galanthus ‘Richard Ayres’ is a distinctive snow drop! At a visit to Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge in 1987, Richard Nutt noticed a very beautiful and unusual large, double snowdrop. Apparently it had been dug out of the wood to where all the snowdrops of the estate had been moved many years ago. It was named by the National Trust (the present owners), after the Head Gardener, Richard Ayres.

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