Brush with Gondwana is another lovely gift book celebrating the work of botanical artists.With an introduction by Janda Gooding, Senior Curator of Art at the Australian War Memorial, this book comprises an introduction to each artist and full colour illustrations of their work.

These artists came together in 1991 when they met for the first time and realised that they had professional needs in common.The Art Gallery of WA had held an exhibition called Wildflowers in Art which covered the development of botanical art from its beginnings with William Dampier in 1699through to the work of contemporary artists documenting the glorious variety of plant life in WA.(See my review of Dampier’s Monkey if you aren’t familiar with his role in the exploration of Australia a century before Cook).Philippa Nikulinksy; Pat Dundas; Rica Erickson; Penny Leech, Margaret Pieroni, and Katrina Syme decided to form the Botanical Artists Group (otherwise known as BAG, giving rise to self-appointed droll nicknames such as Old Bag, Super Bag and Tea Bag).Ellen Hickman was an addition to the group in 1995.

The issues that concerned them are common to many who work in the arts: professional isolation, techniques and media; exhibitions and promotion; and dealing with copyright, contracts and commissions.However, the scientific aspects of their work also meant dealing with the detail of botanical queries as well.Their association as a professional group became a useful forum for sharing ideas and resources – and it also provided social support, with food and fun high on the agenda.