Principal and Course Director: Helen Allen BA,(Hons)PGCert Ed, Dip EGS, FLS

Helen Allen

Helen Allen trained originally as a textile designer before studying at the English Gardening School at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. She received the prestigious Diploma in Botanical Illustration and taught for a number of years before becoming the Diploma Course Director.

Helen’s work is in many exclusive private and scientific collections including Hampton Court Palace, The Highgrove Florilegium, the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, USA and in the Collections & Archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. She has exhibited at Ebury Galleries, Ursus New York, Shirley Sherwood Gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.



Mary Ellen Taylor  Dip EGS(Dist), FLS

Mary Ellen settled in London to pursue Botanical Painting at The English Gardening School after 2 decades of adventure in the Galapagos Islands and the Andes of Ecuador. She graduated with Distinction for her work on the endangered birds of Galapagos and their habitat and returns to Ecuador often for botanical painting fundraising projects.

Mary Ellen was EGS Diploma Course Manager for 7 years, is a Fellow of the Linnean Society, member of Amicus Botanicus as well as the Chelsea Physic Garden and Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.


Sarah Gould


Sarah Gould originally qualified as a Landscape Architect with a broad working knowledge and appreciation of plants. After studying Botanical Illustration for three years with Anne Marie Evans she began to work on calfskin vellum and now paints almost exclusively on this medium.

Sarah has been teaching vellum painting since 2001 holding workshops and short courses at the Chelsea Physic Garden, The Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, and Leicester Botanic Gardens. She is on the selection committees of the Eden Project Florilegium Society and the Leicestershire Society of Botanical Illustrators.

Sarah has been awarded two Silver-Gilt medals at the RHS, London in 2000 and 2002 for paintings of fruit on vellum. She has exhibited at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens, The Hortus Gallery, Chelsea and Ursus, New York. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the RHS Lindley Library, The Highgrove Florilegium, The Hunt Institute and the Chelsea Physic Garden as well as in numerous private collections throughout Europe and America.


Elaine Searle BA (Hons)  Dip EGS(Dist)

elaine searle

After graduating with a BA Hons in Graphic Design, Elaine had an immensely successful career in packaging and retail graphics. Inspired by an introductory class with Anne Marie Evans she studied for and graduated with Distinction from the original Diploma Course in Botanical Art (EGS) in 2004. When not painting Elaine has travelled widely to teach others at all levels. For a number of years Elaine has been involved with teaching here on the school’s short course programme. Her work is in the permanent collection of The Hunt Institute, the Highgrove Florilegium and many private collections. She has exhibited internationally and won prizes including an RHS Silver Gilt medal in 2008 and the Talas award at the ASBA 16th Annual International Exhibition in New York.



Sally Pond

Sally enrolled on the Botanical Painting Course at the Chelsea Physic Garden in 2009 and graduated with a distinction in 2011.
She is a member of the group Amicus Botanicus, all fellow graduates, and has shown work with them at their last two exhibitions in London. In 2013 and 2014 she was awarded silver-gilt medals from the Royal Horticultural Society and received a Certificate of Botanical Merit from the Society of Botanical Artists in 2013.
She also exhibits regularly at galleries in and around her home in Salisbury as well as being involved in many local art events. Sally now runs regular Botanical Painting workshops in Salisbury and for Artsmart in Beaconsfield.




Penny Price Cert Ed, Dip Calligraphy & Illumination, Dip EGS (Dist)

P Price bio Nov13

Penny trained as a teacher and then studied calligraphy and illumination.  She has had a very successful career as a freelance calligrapher and teacher, giving classes in UK and overseas.  She has been Scribe to the University of Cambridge for over twenty years where she also teaches art and calligraphy at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Penny’s work has been in several exhibitions in the UK and has been published in several calligraphic books and journals. Her work is in the Archives of the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge and other Institutions in the UK.

Mary Dillon

Mary is an award winning botanical artist, an experienced art educator and a teacher.  She pursued the Diploma in Botanical Art and Illustration with the Society of Botanical Artists, graduating in 2014 with distinction.

A member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, Mary is an associate member of the Society of Botanical Artists in the UK and wasthe founding chairperson of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists.

Painting the essence of a plant with it’s sensuality and frailty, using watercolour as her preferred medium, she aims to capture and render the nuances of colour, light and form in her paintings.

Mary teaches botanical art internationally including at the ASBA Annual Conference in the U.S . She finds teaching botanical artparticularly rewarding as it provides the perfect opportunity to bring together her three passions of painting, plants and working with people.


Julia Trickey  BA (Hons)

julia_trickeyJulia discovered botanical art in 1998 having previously studied Visual Communication at Bath Academy of Art.

Julia is particularly drawn to specimens that are less than perfect such as autumn leaves, fading flowers and seed heads, often painting them larger than life.

She has four coveted RHS Gold medals amongst other awards and has work in the RHS Lindley Library, the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, USA and the Chelsea Physic Garden archives as well as private collections worldwide.

She has written leaflets and magazine articles on botanical painting.



Anna Haigh BSc (Hons) University of Bristol


Anna is a botanist and eMonocot taxonomist at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, where she is currently gathering content and creating identification keys for emonocot.org. She has written a number of scientific papers and contributed to others as well.

Anna has taught botany at Chelsea School of Botanical Art since it’s conception and at the English Gardening School since 2008.





Lucy T Smith BA (HONS) MA  James Cook University

Lucy SmithLucy is a freelance botanical artist based at the Royal Botanic Garden Kew.

She is illustrating Palms of New Guinea and spent six weeks on the Endeavour replica following in the footsteps of Sydney Parkinson, the artist on Cooks voyage of 1768-1771 for the BBC documentary “The Ship.”

Lucy has received two RHS Gold Medals, three Second Prizes and several Highly Commended awards from the Margaret Flockton Award (for scientific botanical illustration), She also has the Jill Smythies Award for excellence in Scientific Illustration from the Linnean Society of London

Lucy has taught botany at Chelsea School of Botanical Art since it’s conception and at the English Gardening School since 2010.