Original Water Colour Paintings by acclaimed botanical artist Wendy Walsh with portraits of Wendy by her daughter Lesley Fennell

Wendy Walsh painting by daughter Lesley Fennell

Wendy Walsh was one of Ireland’s foremost botanical artists. She illustrated over a dozen botanical books, and designed postage stamps for the postal service of Ireland, and for Kiribati (formerly the Gilbert Islands). In addition she has worked with the late Sybil Connolly on fabric designs for Brunswick and Fils, and ceramics for Tiffany’s, including designs based on the flower collages of Mary Delany.

She is known internationally for her books produced in conjunction with the distinguished botanist Dr Charles Nelson, former taxonomist at the National Botanic Gardens , Dublin. “An Irish Florilegium” won a bronze medal for the Most beautiful book in the world” at the Leipzig Book Fair.

Wendy Walsh has exhibited internationally, including Kew Gardens in London, and was the only living artist represented in the Chester Beatty collection. She was given an Honorary D Litt. by the University of Dublin(Trinity Collage)in 1997, and in 1998 was made a life member of the Royal Dublin Society.

She has won 4 gold medals from the Royal Horticultural Society in London, 2 gold medals from the Alpine Garden Society, and a Medal of Honour from the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland, and is a member of The Society of Botanical Artists of Britain.  Two days before her death she was made an honorary member of The Irish Society of Botanical Artists.

     ”She is at the pinnacle of botanical art” said Professor Grenville Lucas, ex-keeper of the herbarium and library at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, “she has gained international recognition for the beauty of Irish Flora, which had never been shown before”

Her books include:

  • An Irish Florilegium-Wild and garden Flowers of Ireland-volumes 1and 2
  • An Irish Flower garden
  • Trees of Ireland-Native and Naturalised
  • The Burren: A Companion to the Wild Flowers of Ireland’s Limestone Wilderness
  • A Prospect of Irish Flowers
  • Flowers of Mayo
  • Native Dogs of Ireland

Wendy died on March 3rd 2014, a few weeks shy of her 99th Birthday

Lesley fennell studied at the National College of Art, Dublin and the Byam Shaw School of Fine Art, London. She has always been particularly drawn to the human figure and the garden, and paints and draws extensively from life. Her paintings are mainly in oils, and she undertakes portrait and garden commissions.

She has exhibited widely in Ireland, England, and abroad. Her work is in many collections, including the OPW, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trinity Law School, Limerick University, Kildare St and University Club, and KPMG.

This series of portraits of her mother, Wendy Walsh, were mostly done in 2013, the last year of Wendy’s life, except for one which was painted in 1963 , when Lesley was at art school. It was done as a personal record of, and tribute to, her mother, and as a way of spending time together with her. The 2 drawings were done whilst Wendy ate her breakfast every morning, so each one was done over about 3 weeks, for about 10 or 15 minutes a session.