Japonica Magnifica: Paintings by Raymond Booth
1 April – 31 May 1996
This exhibition celebrated the beauty of Japanese flowers and plants through the original botanical paintings and drawings of English artist and horticulturist Raymond Booth. The 85 artworks were the originals featured in the published book Japonica Magnifica. The exhibition and book represented a collaboration between artist Raymond Booth and botanist Don Elick. Booth had maintained a 12-year correspondence with Elick, who had lived and collected plants in Japan for over 40 years. Elick provided many of the specimens for the artist, who grew them in his garden in Yorkshire, England, in order to study them and draw them from life. Each plant portrait was true to scale. Booth's botanical paintings were remarkably accurate, including depictions of Japanese plant habitats that the artist himself had never seen. Although he works in various media, he favors painting in oil on sized paper, an unusual medium for flower subjects.
Booth is a graduate of the Leeds College of Art and divides his time between botanical painting and the cultivation of rare and exotic plants. His work is regularly exhibited at The Fine Art Society in London, where he has had three solo exhibitions. In 1984 a retrospective exhibition of his work was presented at several galleries in his native Yorkshire. Booth has won awards at Royal Horticultural Society exhibitions.
Japonica Magnifica was published simultaneously in 1992 by Alan Sutton and The Fine Art Society in the United Kingdom and by Sagapress Inc./Timber Press Inc. in the United States. It was available through Timber Press Inc. in Portland, Oregon. The deluxe edition of the book, which contained two specially commissioned plates signed by the artist, was available from The Fine Art Society.
The exhibition, sponsored by PaineWebber in cooperation with The Fine Art Society of London, opened at PaineWebber Art Gallery in New York City in the spring of 1995. Subsequent bookings were at The Morris Museum (Morristown, New Jersey) and Elvehjem Museum of Art (University of Wisconsin—Madison). After the exhibition closed at the Hunt Institute, it traveled to the Bruce Museum (Greenwich, Connecticut) and Chicago Botanic Garden.