is a remarkable botanical artist. She won a scholarship at the age of 13 to study at
the Ealing School of Art, and during her career, spanning five
decades, has painted a wide range of wildlife and floral subjects,
which have been reproduced on media as diverse as bone china plates,
greeting cards and textiles. Her true love though is for
classical botanical painting - particularly of orchids, irises
A founding member of the Society of Botanical Artists, Sheila's
art has received the highest accolades in the field; having twice
won gold medals from the Royal Horticultural Society, her work
is also included in Dr Shirley Sherwood's world renowned collection
of contemporary botanical art, as well as at the Hunt Institute
for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, PA. She was elected
a Fellow of the Linnaean Society in 2000, and is currently working
on a book which will pull together the finest of her detailed collection
of more than one hundred paintings of irises. In the 1980's,
she was responsible for the book "Four Seasons: The Life
of the English Countryside" in conjunction with the noted broadcaster
and author, Phil Drabble.
But Sheila also has a remarkable life story. She was struck
down with Multiple Sclerosis in her 20's, and explains that her
painting played a key role in her recovery and subsequent remission. Having
been forced into a wheelchair, she nursed herself back to health
through her work, which even involved in the early months having
to tie paintbrushes into her hand with elastic bands. Sheila's
work has occasionally taken on a campaigning hue - in the 1970's,
her painting of a historic woodland, Warren Copse, next to a major
motorway outside London, was first featured in the Sunday Times
Magazine, and subsequently credited with preventing the destruction
of the woodland to make way for a motorway service station.
Sheila has gone on to share her skills with literally hundreds
of students, through teaching in a range of settings, including
as a lecturer at Brunel University. Now semi-retired, she
still runs small group classes from her home in the picturesque
English seaside town of Watchet, Somerset.
Further details of her painting courses, plus the opportunity to
buy originals and limited edition prints of her work, can be found
at her website, www.botanicalartist.co.uk.
To contact Sheila directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
or telephone +44 (0)1984 634528.
Images © Sheila Mannes-Abbott