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Seed of idea led to some unusual art
PEOPLE have been flocking to the cathedral during the Worcester Festival to view a wide range of artwork provided by the Birmingham Botanical Society.
Artists from across the West Midlands, as well as Worcester and Worcestershire, are displaying their work in the Dean’s Chapel at Worcester Cathedral as part of a free exhibition which runs until Tuesday.
From a Monastic Herbal is an exhibition of paintings of plants and flowers from Culpeper’s Herbal.
Traditionally, monks would have had a herb garden growing herbs, plants and vegetables. Each painting has a card next to it with information about its subject. The exhibition has been inspired by the cathedral’s own herb garden in the cloisters and the 17th- century herbal of Thomas Culpeper, to highlight the scientific importance of plant illustration in both mediaeval times and to our modern lives. As part of the exhibition, artists have also come to paint in the cathedral.
Members’ styles range from colourful studies of one or more plants to precise scientific illustrations including detailed dissections of flower parts.
Susan MacLeod, the cathedral’s operational manager, said: “We have a very good reception to the exhibition.
“When the artists came in to paint, it’s been really nice for visitors to speak to them and see what they do.”
A Benedictine monastery existed on the site of the cathedral from 681. Larger monasteries had several gardens, with the ‘herbularium’ (herb garden) being close to the infirmary where medicinal plants were cultivated for their medicinal, aromatic and culinary qualities.