A PRICELESS collection of art depicting plants and algae went on show for the first time ever in Dublin's National Botanic Gardens yesterday.
The 200 pieces are part of the Botanic Gardens' 3,500-strong art collection, which is usually kept in specially darkened, humidity-controlled and acid-free conditions in its Glasnevin premises.
But they were taken out yesterday for a special public viewing, which will continue until March 3.
The unique paintings, which combine art and science, date from the early 1800s up to the present day. The range includes delicate watercolour paintings and pen-and-ink drawings, with most depicting orchids but also including examples of mushrooms, algae and other plantlife.
They contain works from George Du Noyer, Linda Shackelton and world-renowned contemporary artists Deborah Lambkin and Wendy Walsh.
Botanic art is still a vital tool used for the purpose of plant indentification by botanists.
Botanic Gardens librarian Sarah Ball explained that most of the 200 'best' illustrations which will make up the Plant Treasures exhibition are the work of female artists during the late Victorian era.
The exhibition will be launched officially on Wednesday by Arts Minister Sile de Valera.