The Florilegium was the inspiration of Mally Francis FCPGFS, FEPFS who founded the Society in 2000, and was its Chairman from 2001 to 2012. Mally stepped down in January 2012, and was made Honorary Founder Chairman of the Society, and a Fellow of The Linnean Society in recognition of her contributions to world of Botanical Illustration and Botany.

Main Aims of the Society

The primary aim of the Society is to record the plants of The Eden Project and of Cornwall through the use of the traditional methods of botanical illustration, by observing and recording plants, in watercolour, pen & ink, and/or pencil. Herbarium specimens are also prepared, which accompany the illustrations.

The Society also aims to hold exhibitions of work held with in the Archives, to promote interest in the Society and in the plants of The Eden Project.

We also promote the affiliation between the Society and other Florilegium Societies and Botanic Gardens throughout the UK and abroad.


Approximately 100 paintings have been accepted into the Archives. These have all been scrutinized for botanical accuracy at an extremely high standard by our assessment panel, made up of two botanical illustrators of renown, Helen Allen and Sarah Gould, together with Chris Bissom, Horticultural Science Department at The Eden Project.


Sarah Gould became our President following the retirement of Jenny Brasier, a botanical artist whom she had long admired for her demands for “finesse”. Sarah also knew Mally Francis for many years as they lived nearby in Leicestershire, so she brings the benefit of long term continuity to the role. 

Over the years Sarah’s work has been exhibited at the Ursus Gallery, New York; the Schuster Gallery and the Hortus Gallery, London among others, the Natural History Museum, Kensington and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery in Kew Gardens. In 2018 she took part in “Florentia” the International Exhibition of Botanical Art held in the Villa Bardini in the grounds of the Boboli Gardens in Florence and the work is reproduced in “Florentia”, a book to accompany the exhibition. Sarah has been joint chair of the Leicestershire Society of Botanical Illustrators for three years and is now our President.

Sarah qualified in 1978 as a Landscape Architect. The 4 year diploma course at Cheltenham College of Art included three terms at Pershore College of Horticulture where she learned all the plants and their Latin names. 

She went to Anne-Marie Evan’s classes at Southfield College, Leicester in 1989 having seen an article about them in the Leicester Mercury. It was there that, as she liked to paint dry, she was introduced to vellum. She joined the newly-formed Leicester Society of Botanical Illustrators made up from Anne-Marie’s past students and they met on Wednesdays in Leicester. By the time Jenny Brasier came to give a talk on her work on vellum she was already completely hooked. She put work into the RHS in 2000 and got an encouraging silver-gilt medal for “Fruits on Vellum”. Taking on board all the advice from the judges she entered again in 2002 “Exotic Fruits on Vellum” but got another silver-gilt, so she didn’t put herself through it again. She felt consoled when Brent Elliot of the RHS bought her painting of ‘Mangosteens’ from the “Exotic Fruits” exhibit for the RHS Lindley Library’s permanent collection. 

She joined the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society in about its second year, having been put forward by Anne-Marie, and she is now a Fellow with seven paintings in the Florilegium. Her paintings are in both of the books that the CPGFS have produced:  “Flower Paintings from the Apothecaries’ Garden” and “Botanical Illustration from Chelsea Physic Garden”, both by Andrew Brown. 

By 2002 she was painting almost exclusively on vellum and began teaching workshops in Sheffield, Birmingham, Gloucester, Dorset etc. She also ran two day residential vellum workshops in Chipping Camden and started teaching at the Chelsea School of Botanical Art with Helen Allen, based at the Chelsea Physic Garden.

In 2007 she exhibited four paintings at the Hunt Institute’s 12th annual exhibition and they appear in the 12th exhibition catalogue. Two of the paintings remain at the Hunt in their permanent collection. In the same year, Mally invited her to teach a vellum workshop after the Flori AGM and in 2009 she became an assessor for the Flori alongside Jenny Brasier. 

Through Chelsea Physic Garden and Helen Allen, she was invited to paint for the Highgrove Florilegium – on paper – and her painting of Narcissus poeticus is in the first volume. All the paintings from the two volumes of the Florilegium have been exhibited worldwide. Painting for the subsequent Transylvanian Florilegium was begun in 2012 and she was in the first party of eight artists who went out there to paint three paintings each of the wild flowers surrounding the Prince of Wales’ properties in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains. In 2016 she was invited back to Transylvania to paint a further three subjects, so she has six paintings altogether in the Transylvanian Florilegium. 

Who is Who in 2021

President Sarah Gould
Vice President Sue Minter

Chairman Jacquie Ashton
Vice-Chairman Laura Silburn
Hon. Secretary 
Julie Peart
Hon. Treasurer Ann Paull
Events Co-ordinator Pauline Gwennap
Keeper of the Herbarium & Archives Laura Silburn & Sally St John Hollis
Newsletter & Web Management Dominica Williamson
Commissioning Editor Charles Francis
Committee Member Carey Kaack & Jenny Ford

If you would like to make contact please use our form and your email will be directed to the relevant committee member.