Alice Tangerini to Receive the Jill Smythies Award for Accomplishment in Botanical Illustration.


Alice Tangerini, Smithsonian Staff Portrait / NMNH
Alice Tangerini, Smithsonian Staff Portrait / NMNH

Alice Tangerini will receive the Jill Smythies Award from the Linnean Society of London on May 24, 2021 at their anniversary meeting, 10:30 am – 1:00 pm PDT. The Jill Smythies Award, a medal and £1000, is presented for accomplishment in botanical illustration to an artist “in recognition of excellence in published illustrations in aid of plant identification, with the emphasis on botanical accuracy and the accurate portrayal of diagnostic characteristics.”


Alice was the first (and only) staff illustrator for the Department of Botany at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution since she was hired in 1972. She is a long time member of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) and the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI). Alice has taught numerous workshops over the years for BAGSC members.

Alice's award was announced in 2020. Usually the award is given in person, on Linnaeus’s birthday, May 24 at the Society’s headquarters in London. Like everything else, the pandemic caused a change of plans. This year's meeting and awards presentation will be online, free, and open to the public around the world. Both last year's and this year's awards will be presented during the meeting.


The award will be given in the second part of the Linnean Society’s General Meeting, after the business agenda when the new CEO, Dr Gail Cardew, will present her vision for the future. If you would like to watch the event, you can sign up for free here.


The citation for Alice’s award from the Linnean Society of London is as follows: "Alice Tangerini, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Jill Smythies Award 2020 for the excellence of her depictions of plants for scientific use, including the detailed portrayal of their diagnostic characteristics, Alice Tangerini is our 2020 winner of the Jill Smythies Award. In addition to illustrating new species, Alice has illustrated multiple taxa from the same group for the same publication, such that the details of the drawings can be used to distinguish the species."

"Since 1972, Alice has made diagnostic illustrations for over 1,000 plant species in pen and ink, graphite, and more recently in digital media, for a variety of publications. Using mainly herbarium specimens as her resource material, she has prepared these illustrations to portray the species in a realistic manner with necessary reconstruction to remove the artefacts of drying and physical damage. Significant taxonomic characters have been enlarged with the aid of a microscope to facilitate their use in species descriptions."

"Over the years, the detail and accuracy of her drawings and examinations of the specimens have resulted in authors changing descriptions, based on details observed by Alice that had escaped the botanists’ notice. For instance, her detailed examination of a proposed new species of bromeliad resulted in the production of a newly written, enhanced description. As a result, the authors, Lyman B. Smith and Harold Robinson, decided to name the new species Navia aliciae in her honour. Such collaboration with scientists in describing a taxon is the hallmark of exemplary botanical illustration." _______


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