Bobbi Angell


Bobbi Angell’s botanical illustrations have appeared in a wide variety of scholarly and commercial publications since she began her career in 1978. She has reached a popular audience through seed catalogs, The New York Times garden column and its compilation books, and the popular memoir Our Life in Gardens by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrrowd, and the recently published A Botanist's Vocabulary. Living deep in the hills of southern Vermont, Bobbi draws constantly, exhibits frequently, teaches occasionally, and gardens whenever she can.
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In recent years Bobbi has been enjoying the intricate art of copper etching. Printmaking allows a natural extension of her compositional style with an enhanced focus on fine detail. Her graceful designs are drawn onto a ground on a copper plate, etched with acid, and hand printed individually in small editions. A select few are hand tinted with watercolor. Each image reflects a personal involvement with the subject, whether observed in the wild or selected from her extensive and rambling gardens.

Throughout her career, Bobbi’s focus has to illustrate scholarly texts with pen and ink drawings created expressly to aid identification of the plant species depicted. Using her botanical training, keen observational skills, and artistic sensibilities, she creates exquisitely detailed illustrations. Much of her work represents years of ongoing collaboration with scientists from The New York Botanical Garden and around the world, working from herbarium specimens, pickled flowers, photographs and her own field sketches. Her images are not only scientifically precise but also beautifully composed, even when they are reconstructions of flattened dried specimens. The clarity of the microscopic detail provides an intimate view of beauty that often escapes the naked eye. With 30 years of continuous work and over 2000 species illustrated, Bobbi’s ink drawings compliment the pages of texts including Orchids of the Greater Antilles, Intermountain Flora, Vines of Puerto Rico, and Vascular Plants of Central French Guiana.

Her work continues to win awards, including the prestigious Jill Smythies Award from The Linnean Society of London, American Society of Botanical Artists’ Award for Excellence in the Service of Science, and NY State Museum FON XI Juror’s award. But most of her accolades come from the authors and users of the publications in which her drawings appear. Many botanists, when identifying a specimen, go straight to the illustrations rather than to the keys and descriptions, and those who use a flora illustrated by Bobbi often find that the work is worth contemplating for the pleasure of the illustrations alone. To quote reviews and acknowledgements: “Adding immeasurably to the quality and usability… are some of the finest and most accurate line illustrations to be found anywhere”; “The line drawings of Bobbi Angell are very finely detailed… arranged with a lot of love into plates not only very informative but they also appeal to the aesthetics of the observer.”; “She is not only an excellent and sensible artist but also a fine botanist and keen observer who can perceive numerous details of individual plants”.


  • Printmaking
  • Botanical Art