A new exhibition delving the hidden healing depths of the botanical treasure trove that is the Royal College of Physicians’ remarkable medicinal garden to strike artistic gold.
Former scientific researcher turned artist, Nina Krauzewicz, spent a year in residence at the garden in 2014 to create the series of nine delicate and beautiful images of plants with a purpose on display.
From skin-friendly witch hazel to poisonous deadly nightshade, narcotic opium poppy to ricinus communis, provider of both foul tasting but nourishing castor oil and lethal ricin, her paintings capture the entrancing appearance of the organisms and hint at their fascinating histories.
Nina’s works appear alongside illuminating explanations of how the plants have been used across the centuries to soothe, poison and purge as part of herbal remedies, and their continuing role in medicine: analysed, modified and synthesised for modern use.
The exhibition also features highlights from the Royal College of Physicians’ own extensive collections, including some of the very earliest engravings of medical botany, and no visit would be complete without seeing the medicinal garden itself, which has grown today to feature more than 1,300 specimens from around the world and across the history of medicine.
‘Chemistry in the Garden’ is a treat for anyone with an interest in botany, herbal medicine, medical history or the beauty of plants captured in art.