Opening on Thursday 17 April, Sylva, the new exhibition at the John Hope Gateway, marks the 350th anniversary of the publication of one of the earliest practical manuals on silviculture, Sylva. Written by the diarist John Evelyn, the text helped change perceptions of trees and forests and inspired generations of landowners to manage their woodlands better.
To celebrate this anniversary, artist Sarah Simblet was commissioned to produce 200 drawings to illustrate The New Sylva, a contemporary version of the text, co-authored by Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet. Published by Bloomsbury, it is inspired by Evelyn’s philosophy and honours his poignant plea for change by introducing the idea sustainable forestry to a modern audience.
The drawings, of which a selection are shown in the exhibition, detail modern approaches to planting and managing forest and orchard trees. Nearly 50 species have been meticulously depicted in pen and ink, from mature trees to small seedlings, with detailed studies of botanical parts. Associated animals, insects and woodland flowers of the surrounding ecosystem have also been included, as well as the insights into the forestry process and the future of our forests.
To further acknowledge this historic anniversary, 35 prominent people, including authors, artists, horticulturalists and scientists, have been asked to nominate the tree or woodland-inspired book that has most influenced them. The 35 books chosen, which include non-fiction, fiction and poetry are also on display.
Sylva is kindly supported by the Nineveh Charitable Trust, the Stanley Smith (UK) Horticultural Trust, the Scottish Forestry Trust and the Sylva Foundation.
Exhibition open Thursday 17 April to Sunday 15 June 2014. 10am to 5.45pm daily | Admission free.
Tel: 0131 248 2909