‘A Passion for Plants’: The Shirley Sherwood Collection

Contemporary Botanical Masterworks

The term “botanical art” refers to pictures that depict plant structures with accuracy and detail as a recording method for botany. Botanical art that shows the beauty of flowering plants has appeal as outstanding artwork, and has come to be continually loved by people. Even today, many artists in each region of the world are active as botanical artists.

Botanical art showed signs of decline at one point due to the development of photography and printing technology, but in recent years it has attracted interest again in connection with activities to conserve the natural environment and the boom in gardening. Botanical pictures are being academically reevaluated for their ability to emphasize plant characteristics that are key when botanists identify a species, as well as their ability to show growth processes of flowering plants, cross-sections, and anatomical drawings simultaneously on a single plane. This is in contrast to photography, in which multiple photographs are needed in order to show growth processes at different points in time since there is a single focal point. This exhibit introduces 121 works by contemporary botanical artists from the collection of Dr. Shirley Sherwood, whose collection is the largest owned by any individual in the world.

The Shirley Sherwood Collection
Dr. Shirley Sherwood, who studied botany at the University of Oxford, traveled to each corner of the globe while working to spread botanical art, discovering and supporting more than 200 contemporary botanical artists in over 30 countries and collecting their works. Her collection currently totals more than 600 works. This exhibit will show a portion of these works, which are being exhibited in Japan from the Shirley Sherwood Collection for the first time ever.

Exhibition Details

From April 22nd (Sat.) to July 2nd (Sun.), 2006.
Closed Mondays
Seiji Togo Memorial SOMPO JAPAN Museum of Art
1-26-1, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8338
SOMPO JAPAN Bldg.42nd Floor
Open Hours
10:00-18:00 (Admittance by 17:30)
10:00-20:00 (Fridays, Admittance by 19:30)
Adults:1,000 Yen (800Yen)
University & High School Students: 600Yen (500Yen)
Senior Citizens (65 years and more): 800Yen
( ) indicates discount rates for groups of 20 and more
Organized by
Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Museum of Art
The Yomiuri Shinbun
Supported by
Sompo Japan Insurance Inc.
Cooperation with
Japan Airlines
Patronized by
British Embassy


Stephanie Berni
Australian Tree Fern: Dicksonia Antarctica
© Shirley Sherwood Collection 2004
Mary Grierson
The Great Sunflower: Helianthus annuus
© Shirley Sherwood Collection
Brigid Edwards
Cape Gooseberry
© Shirley Sherwood Collection 1995
Barbara Oozeerally
Magnolia x soulangeana
© Shirley Sherwood Collection 2001
Paul Jones
Flowers of Eryldene
© Shirley Sherwood Collection
Christabel King
Gymnocalycium cf. fleischerianum
© Shirley Sherwood Collection 1995
Alexander Viazmensky
The Colours of Russula: Russula spp
© Shirley Sherwood Collection 2004
Pandora Sellars
Blue Water Lily: Nymphaea capensis
© Shirley Sherwood Collection 1998
Yoko Uchijo
Cyclamen persicum
© Shirley Sherwood Collection 1998
Vicki Thomas
Adenia hastate
© Shirley Sherwood Collection 2001