A large crowd gathered at the Art Gallery of Ballarat last evening to hear Dr Philip Moors of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, open the very significant exhibition 'Capturing Flora: 300 years of Australian botanical art'. An impressive hardcover book with that title, full of beautiful colour plates, has been published by the Gallery as a catalogue.
Margaret Flockton was well-acknowledged on the night and it was marvellous to see the prominence given to her work. Less marvellous was the Ballarat Gallery's omission from many acknowledgments made in several speeches that Catherine Wardrop of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney flew south several months ago to make personal delivery of a number of Flockton works lent for display in the exhibition. However all was forgiven in the bonhomie of the evening.
It was heartening to see the value placed by the Gallery itself on Margaret's worth as a botanical artist - it has purchased for its own collection some of her 'American Tobacco Co' series of Australian wildflowers, using funds from the Joe White bequest. The quick snapshot does not do justice to those wildflower works. (And it's not my favourite image of me either!)
Using the research for my forthcoming book, plus family knowledge of the woman our family knew as 'Aunt Mog', I'll be giving a free lunchtime talk about Margaret's life at the Gallery on 10th October.