Esmée Winkel

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Esmee Winkel
It is the extraordinary world of plants that inspires me in my art. So many plants have such an intriguing story to tell, from a flower that brings back beautiful memories, rare orchids growing in tropical rain forests, to the importance of plants for the survival of all living organisms on Earth. With my botanical art I aim at capturing those stories on paper, and share the sheer beauty of plants, their splendor and their enormous variety in form and colour.

In science botanical illustrations also have an important role in the publications of researchers. The aim of these illustrations is to register, preserve detailed information and report with the results of research in scientific journals and floras. By illustrating for researchers I aim at making a contribution to science and to botany in particular. There still is no better way to capture the essence of a living plant then by drawing or painting. Despite the great techniques of modern photography only with an illustration a reconstruction of a damaged plant or dried herbarium material is possible for example.

About me:

Growing up on the beautiful Caribbean island Curaçao, I developed a vast interest in nature. So I moved to the Netherlands to study Biology at the Leiden University. After having received my BSc degree I studied at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design and Maastricht University, taking a course in Master Scientific Illustration. Since 2008 I have been working as a botanical artist for Naturalis Biodiversity Center, the Dutch research institute and Natural history museum in Leiden. Quite often you will also find me browsing through and drawing fascinating and unique plants at the Hortus botanicus Leiden and out in the field.

Collections and Memberships:

My work is included in the permanent collections of Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Hortus botanicus Leiden, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, New York State Museum, the RHS Lindley Library and in many private collections worldwide.

Fellow of the Linnean Society of London
member of the Dutch Society of Botanical Artists,
member of the American Society of Botanical Artists,
member of the Belgium Society of Botanical Artists,
member of the Wiener Schule der botanischen Illustration,
member of the Association of Botanical Artists,
member of the Dutch Orchid Society.


2021 Margaret Flockton Award, First Prize, for an illustration of Notoleptopus decaisnei.
2018 Gold Medal, Royal Horticultural Society, London, for 6 watercolours of Ophrys species.
Margaret Flockton Award, Second Prize, for an illustration of Monanthotaxis pynaertii.
ASBA Botanical Illustrator Award for Excellence in Scientific Botanical Art.
Honourable mention, Hermine van Bers Beeldende Kunstprijs.
Gold Medal, Royal Horticultural Society, London, for 6 scientific illustrations.
Jill Smythies Award, The Linnean Society of London.
Gold Medal, Royal Horticultural Society, London, for 6 scientific illustrations.
Gold Medal, Biscot, Edinburgh, Scotland, for 8 scientific illustrations.
2012 Jury award, ‘Focus on Nature’ exhibition, New York State Museum, USA, for an illustration of the reproductive system of dragonflies.