Clayton: Monash University Publishing, 2015. Octavo, paperback, colour photographs, illustrations.
Presents the story of internationally acclaimed botanical illustrator, Celia Rosser, who dedicated her life to painting the entire genus of Banksia, the only artist to have done such a task. Her dedication to the task put her at the centre of the Monash Banksia Project underwritten by the University for twenty-five years and culminating in the production of an extraordinary three-volume florilegium that became one of the great books published in the twentieth century. This is also the story of the emergence of an artist, who grew up in difficult circumstances during the Great Depression, and pursued her art partly as a way of protecting herself from the harsher side of life. The narrative stays focussed on the path of the artist, as she grows up, develops her talent, and learns to understand and take advantage of it. The story follows her struggles to pursue her artistic passion while fulfilling the expectations of women in 1950s to subordinate themselves to their husbands as wives and mothers. As her children become more independent, she recognises opportunities and, eventually, finds a place at Monash University to fully express herself through her art. In telling this story of Celia Rosser’s unparalleled talent and extraordinary achievement, this book explores the history of Botanical Illustration, Botany, academia, gardens and their herbarium and Australia’s place in changing the shape of the world.
Price: $40.00 AU