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Drawing from nature

Detail from a page of watercolours of three Tulips including an Agatte Robin Tulip, a Penelope Tulip and a Yellow Crown Tulip by artist Alexander Marshal
Detail from Tulips, Alexander Marshal ©

Alexander Marshal (c.1620–82) was not a professional artist yet he produced some of the most remarkable botanical watercolours made during the seventeenth century. He compiled 159 sheets into a flower book, or florilegium, for his own enjoyment and to share with his friends.

Marshal arranged the drawings in his album by season, and copied both native species and rare imported plants growing in his friends’ gardens. He sometimes made his own pigments from plants. Marshal was offered a large amount of money for this beautiful book, but he refused to sell it. The florilegium was presented to George IV in the early nineteenth century and it is now part of the Royal Collection.

Why not use watercolours or coloured pencils to record the beauty of spring happening around you?

Alternatively, you could try your hand at copying Alexander Marshal’s wonderful watercolours.

We would love to see your creations. If you post your artwork on social media, please tag us using @RCT on Twitter and @royalcollectiontrust on Instagram and Facebook.

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden


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The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.