This is the story of Celia Rosser, the internationally acclaimed botanical illustrator, who ultimately dedicated her life to painting the entire genus of Banksia, the only artist to have done such a thing. Celia's dedication to the task put her at the center of the Monash Banksia Project, underwritten by Monash University (Australia) for 25 years and culminating in the production of an extraordinary three-volume florilegium that became one of the great books published in the 20th century.
This is also the story of the emergence of an artist who grew up in difficult circumstances during th
e Great Depression and pursued her art partly as a way of protecting herself from the harsher side of life. The narrative stays focused on the path of the artist, as Celia grows up, develops her talent, and learns to understand and take advantage of it. The story follows her struggles to pursue her artistic passion while fulfilling the expectations of women in 1950s to subordinate themselves to their husbands as wives and mothers. In telling this story of Celia Rosser's unparalleled talent and extraordinary achievement, the book explores the history of botanical illustration, botany, academia, gardens and their herbarium, and Australia's place in changing the shape of the world. *** Librarians: ebook available on ProQuest and EBSCO (Series: Biography) [Subject: Biography, Art, Botany, History, Australian Studies, Women's Studies, Gardening]
About the Author
Carolyn Landon has written several award winning memoir/biographies focusing on ordinary people whose lives define and are defined by the times in which they live, but this is the first time she has set her sights on a subject already known and admired for her extraordinary talents and artistic achievement. Landon is a newcomer to the world of Botanical Art, but has become a convert concerning all things botanical through her work with Ms Rosser.
In order to fully understand who her subject is and what she has achieved, Landon has explored the history of art, history of Australia, history of botanical discovery, history of botany and the institutions that grew from discovery and science. Most importantly she has learned the place of artists in the midst of it all.
Rosser, now in her eighties, lives in a house near Wilsons Promontory with a front door made of banksia wood. Her gallery, where many of her paintings can be seen, is next door. Visitors, if fortunate, can hear firsthand the artists tales of decades of travel search of every banksia in its place of first recording. Landons biography captures both the spirit of the woman and the momentousness of her artistic achievement. Fiona Gruber, Australian Review of Books October 2015