Stella Ross-Craig

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Stella Ross-Craig
Stella Ross-Craig01.jpg
Born (1906-03-19)March 19, 1906
Aldershot, United Kingdom
Died February 6, 2006(2006-02-06) (aged 99)
Isleworth, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Education Chelsea Polytechnic
Known for Botanical Illustration
Spouse(s) Joseph Robert Sealy
Awards Kew International Medal[1]
2002 Veitch Memorial Medal
Stella Ross-Craig02.jpg
Chrysanthemum × rubellum by artists Lilian Snelling and Stella Ross-Craig, published in Curtis's Botanical Magazine in 1939

Stella Ross-Craig (19 March 1906[2] – 6 February 2006) was an English illustrator best known as a prolific illustrator of native flora.

Early life and career[edit]

Ross-Craig was born in Aldershot in 1906; her parents were Scottish and her father was a chemist. Interested in botany from her youth, she studied at the Thanet Art School and attended drawing classes at the Chelsea Polytechnic.[3][4] In 1929, she began work as a botanical illustrator and taxonomist at Kew Gardens[3] and was a contributor to Curtis's Botanical Magazine and Icones Planarum.[5] Her work drew the attention of Sir Edward Sailsbury, the director of Kew, who brought her to a publisher.

She was married to the botanist, her colleague Joseph Robert Sealy, whom she first met at Chelsea Polytechnic.[6]

Drawings of British Plants[edit]

The first in Ross-Craig's series Drawings of British Plants was published in 1948.[3] The series was issued as a set of inexpensive paperbacks retailing initially for 6 shillings,[7] a departure from similar books for professionals and wealthy amateurs. The series eventually grew to 31 parts, taking until 1973 to complete and containing over 1300 lithographic plates.[8] The series contained all the British flowering plants except for the grasses and sedges.[4] She often drew from preserved dried specimens kept at Kew, and she worked in black and white.[9][10]

Later life[edit]

In 1999 Ross-Craig became only the sixth person to receive the Kew Award medal. In 2003, 55 of her originals were exhibited at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, when she was aged 95.[6] The works were subsequently exhibited at the Kew Gardens Gallery the next year.[5] Ross-Craig was a Fellow of the Linnean Society from 1948 to 1974.[9] She was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Gold Veitch Memorial Medal in 2002.[8]


  1. ^ "Ethiopia's Prof. Sebsebe Demissew awarded prestigious Kew International Medal - Kew". 
  2. ^ Stearn, William Thomas (1990). Botanical masters: plant portraits by contemporary artists. Prentice Hall Press. ISBN 978-0-13-321902-9. Retrieved 2 May 2011. The impressive record of Stella Ross-Craig (b. 1906), whose association with Kew began in 1929, brings to mind that of Walter ... Very appropriately the Royal Horticultural Society dedicated vol. 182 (1978–80) to Stella Ross-Craig and ... 
  3. ^ a b c John McEwen (10 November 2001). "A monument to minutiae". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Stella Ross-Craig". The Telegraph. 9 February 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Stella Ross-Craig – Unrivalled botanical artist who made an elegant and authoritative record of Britain's flora". The Times. UK. 18 February 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  6. ^ a b David Buckman (2006). Artists in Britain Since 1945 Vol 2, M to Z. Art Dictionaries Ltd. ISBN 0 953260 95 X. 
  7. ^ "Stella Ross-Craig". The Scotsman. UK. 10 February 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Peter Marren (20 February 2006). "Obituary: Stella Ross-Craig". The Independent. Retrieved 22 May 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Blunt, Wilfrid Jasper Walter; William Thomas, Stearn (1950). The art of botanical illustration: an illustrated history. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 978-0-486-27265-8. 
  10. ^ Haines, Catharine M. C. (2001). International women in science: a biographical dictionary to 1950. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-090-1. Retrieved 2 May 2011. Stella Ross-Craig, an outstanding botanical artist, creates drawings that are both artistic and scientifically accurate. 
  11. ^ IPNI.  Ross-Craig. 

External links[edit]