After the completion of a long-term project with some of the finest contemporary botanical artists, a collection of watercolours has been chosen to record the flora of Transylvania, the area of Romania that is famous for the richness and diversity of its plant life.
When HRH The Prince of Wales first visited Transylvania in 1998 he was ‘totally overwhelmed by its unique beauty and its extraordinarily rich heritage’, as Addison Publications notes. He has since acquired property in the Saxon Village of Viscri and the more remote Zalanpatak.
His Royal Highness saw the importance of this beautiful landscape, rich in meadows, with flora that is extremely rare and vulnerable to changes in farming methods. The Prince suggested it should be recorded in the form of a florilegium. The Transylvanian Florilegium would be a means of drawing wider attention to the precious flora. It would not only be a splendid and important publication but also an appeal for the protection of the environment, since the traditionally managed grassland is fundamental to the landscape in a centuries-old managed ecosystem.
Thus, The Transylvania Florilegium has been organises under the supervision of The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, in conjunction with Addison Publications and a succession of teams of botanical artists, curators and people involved in craft book production.
The first of the two hand crafted volumes was published in 2018. For more than six years, carefully selected internationally renowned artists have been creating over 124 watercolour illustrations of indigenous species in Transylvania. Each artist painted up to six plants and offered them for selection as part of the final work. In the florilegium, information regarding each plant accompanies every painting.
Both volumes come as a recognition of Transylvania as an extremely valuable eco-system. The flora here is now very rare elsewhere in Europe due to invasive agricultural methods, with negative impact on the environment. The Transylvania Florilegium aims to raise awareness over the diversity and beauty of the Transylvanian flora and inspire people to assist in its preservation.
The exhibition is on display at the National Museum of Arts up until May 5, 2019.