Lindley Library 2017 Program

of displays for 2017 by world’s best and biggest gardening library
by RHS
January 2, 2017

Apple portraits, contemporary ceramics and botanical art among items to go on show, many for the first time The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Lindley Library is a treasure-trove of the history of gardening, with books, prints and botanical art from the 16th century to the present day. In 2017 the library will be staging a full programme of displays, revealing many artworks and manuscripts from its historic collections that have never been seen in public.

The forthcoming displays will include floral paintings by the 19th century flower painter Caroline Maria Applebee, key houseplants in pots designed by students at Central St Martins, and beautiful books and prints on the history of the apple.

Fiona Davison, Head of Libraries and Exhibitions, said: ‘This is only our second year of running a full programme at the RHS Lindley Library and across the four RHS Gardens. It is a unique chance for us to show items that are usually only accessible to individual researchers for reference. We were delighted with its success last year and look forward to an exciting 2017.’

RHS Lindley Library 2017

Pigments and Petals

11 January – 10 March

RHS Lindley Library, Vincent Square,

London, admission free

Caroline Maria Applebee was a 19th century flower painter from Colchester, Essex, about whom little is known. Between 1808 to1852 she painted 300 beautiful watercolour drawings of both native and exotic flowers such as pelargoniums and dahlias, which were purchased in three albums by the Royal Horticultural Society in the early 20th century. Her work spans 40 years when this leisure pastime was at the height of its popularity. The many artworks she produced cast light on the floral world that was available to artists at the time whilst keeping Caroline’s own life tantalisingly shrouded in mystery. Several of her most beautiful works will be on display, from primulas and fuschias to strawberries and irises.


16 March – 20 May

RHS Lindley Library, Vincent Square,

London, admission free

To celebrate the houseplant, ceramics students from Central St Martins are designing pots for a range of key houseplants, responding to the aesthetics of the plant, its history and origins and its cultivation needs. The resulting display will include a selection of their pots and an outline of the students’ creative processes, and will showcase key houseplants that have been significant in their relatively recent history, telling the story of their first introduction to the country and the characteristics that make them popular and ideally suited to survive indoors.

Apples Through Time

21 August – 27 October

RHS Lindley Library, Vincent Square,

London, admission free

To accompany the planting of a new orchard of heritage Devon apples at RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon, this display showcases the history of apples, from its first known cultivation in the Tien Shan mountain range in Kazakhstan to the present day. It will look at the many myths and legends surrounding apples, and how they have been used as a tool for social change by people from Puritans to modern-day Guerrilla gardeners. It will include apple growing manuals from the 1500’s onwards, as well as the beautiful apple portraits of William Hooker, commissioned by the RHS from 1814-1836.

RHS Lindley Library

The RHS Lindley Library’s headquarters are at Vincent Square, London, but it also has branches at RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey and RHS Garden Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire, and reading rooms at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex and RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon. Founded in the early 19th century, it holds unique collections of early printed books on gardening, botanical art and photographs, as well as the archives of the RHS and of notable gardeners and garden designers. It includes 80,000 books, with a rare books collection dating back to 1514; about 30,000 original botanical illustrations and oil portraits, including the world’s finest collection of orchid portraits; and approximately 200,000 photographs.

About the RHS

The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters.

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