On 3 September 1907, Frederick William Moore (1857-1949), Curator of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin addressed the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), London. His lecture was titled ‘Lesser known orchids’ and for it, he punctuated his mark on orchid history.
It is with great delight that the National Botanic Gardens will hold an exhibition that highlights three threads of Frederick Moore’s passion. The first thread is based on his lecture to the RHS and displays some of the archival material from the Library at Glasnevin. It will be a taste of the collection, as it was then, from old photographic plates to excerpts from letters written to Moore. There will be glimpses of the plants that were the “rare” or “uncommon” and tales of endurance provided by plants that grow in the collection today, the same ones that did when Moore walked in his precious glasshouses. Moore was proud of the achievements at the Gardens and often sent plants to the RHS in London for exhibit. There he achieved many awards.
The second thread of the exhibition is provided by Deborah Lambkin, the Irish botanical artist who is currently the official artist to the RHS’s Orchid Committee. Deborah will showcase her illustrations of recently awarded plants that came to be judged by the Committee. Deborah belongs to a small but select sisterhood of Irish botanical artists who are best known for their depictions of members of the orchid family. The archives at Glasnevin hold hundreds of portraits of single flowers from the hand of Lydia Shackleton. Less in number are those by Alice Jacob and Josephine Humphries, but none the less interesting.
In 1911, Frederick William Moore was knighted for his services to horticulture a sentiment reiterated by Robert Lloyd Praeger in Moore’s obituary when he referred to him as “a tower of strength in all matters related to gardening and horticulture”. This accolade has been borrowed to create the last thread of the tapestry as we show it as Gretta titles her collection of portraits, ‘A Tower of Strength – the orchids that celebrate Frederick William Moore’. Margareta (Gretta) Pertl has painted orchids for more than two decades, carrying out her work at both the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin and the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna (Botanischer Garten der Universität Wien). Some years ago, inspired by Frederick Moore’s ties to the German orchidologist, Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach, Gretta decided to paint all of the plants named after Frederick Moore. In 1884 Reichenbach, whose herbarium resides in Vienna where Gretta has her principal residence, was the first to name an orchid after Moore, Masdevallia mooreana. Although most of the paintings were painted in Vienna, Gretta had to travel to the private collection of A.J. Sijm in Hem, Holland to complete them. An exhibition catalogue with fine art prints will be available and the details of the orchids, and how they came to be named is elaborated on in the text prepared to accompany the plates.
To cap the exhibition, the Dublin Orchid Fair will take place on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April. This event is of interest to both beginner and accomplished growers and will host a wide variety of orchids on display in the Teak House. As part of the Fair, there will be talks on growing orchids and a tour of the Glasnevin orchid collection.
Exhibition: Three Threads
Gallery: Education and Visitor Centre, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin
Dates: Thursday, 29th March to Wednesday, 25th April 2018
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.00pm (Last entry at 4.30pm)
Saturday to Sunday – 10.30am to 5.00pm (Last entry at 4.30pm)