Picture Profile 2309: “Sanctus Etheldreda de Ely” (Saint Etheldreda of Ely – illumination)


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Artist Code 2309. Completed 22nd September 2023. Water colour, 24ct gold leaf and 23ct shell gold on Aquarelle Arches 12” x 16” 140lb 100% cotton rag paper. Gun metal hand made frame 18” x 22”; Hand cut archival mount.

This illumination was painted especially for the Iceni Botanical Artists Annual Exhibition 2023 “Celebrating the life of Queen Etheldreda: Herbals and Harvest” in the Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral Friday 29 September – Friday 13 October 2023. There were over 110 original artworks for sale, including this one which sold on the Preview Evening.

The Iceni Botanical Artists (IBA) are a group of artists based in East Anglia (I am Chair 2022-24). The members use a wide range of styles, techniques and mediums to depict the plant world, as well as striving for botanical excellence. Their aim is to promote the creation and enjoyment of botanical art and illustration. Some of their members have work held in National collections at Kew and the Royal Horticultural Society.

Each year the IBA have one or two exhibitions, usually in Norfolk, Suffolk or Cambridgeshire. In 2023 they were proud to be able to exhibit in the Lady Chapel for the first time, as part of the Cathedral’s year to celebrate the life of Saint Etheldreda. The theme of the exhibition reflected her life in flowers and plants, herbals from the recently planted Ely Physick Garden, as well as Harvest Festival celebrations.

All the work exhibited was for sale, as well as cards, prints, and an IBA 2024 calendar. Two workshops were held during the exhibition for those interested in learning about botanical art, or for the more experienced to refine existing skills. The exhibition was a great success.

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