Sarah Howard

Botanical Illustrator


Medals awarded by Royal Horticultural Society, London, and Botanical Images Scotland, including Gold Medal for a display of Horn of African Aloes (2016). Paintings selected by the Hunt Institute at the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (2010) ; Flora Scotia (Worldwide Botanical Art Exhibition, 2018); Florilegium of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (2019); and New York Botanical Garden 4th Triennial Exhibition (2020).


Having always carried a sketchbook and paints on my travels I was invited to illustrate for the Flora of Ethiopia & Eritrea between 1997 and 2000. This was followed up with a Diploma in Botanical Illustration, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (Distinction, 2014).

It was in Ethiopia that I discovered what fun it was to study plants as one drew and painted them. As well as black and white plates for the Flora, I produced colour paintings of endemic plants in order to inform local and foreign residents alike of the richness of the flora in this beautiful, mountainous country. This is a continuing project, and most years see me tramping the countryside for material to paint.

Otherwise, I am in Scotland working on commissions and projects, using both watercolour and colour pencil, and passing on my experience to students who are a wonderful stimulus to invention and high standards.

My childhood in Kenya determined a first degree in African History and Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental & African Studies, London, and a job as archivist at the National Museums of Kenya, which is why I am so keen on developing botanical art in this flora rich part of the world.

Artistic Statement

My approach to botanical art is sculptural. I like to dry brush my way round all the parts, examining them, feeling for shape and form, until I can reveal great beauty in the hidden parts.


  • Scottish Plant Lore: An Illustrated Flora. Gregory J. Kenicer, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2018
  • Breckland Wild Flowers: Heaths and Grasslands. Iceni Botanical Artists, 2016
  • Flora of Ethiopia & Eritrea Vol 2, Part 1. Sue Edwards et al (eds) AAU Press, 2000
  • Flora of Ethiopia & Eritrea Vol 4, Part 1. Inga Hedberg et al (eds) AAU Press, 2003
  • Flora of Ethiopia & Eritrea Vol 5. Inga Hedberg et al (eds) AAU Press, 2006
  • Flora of Ethiopia & Eritrea Vol 6. Sue Edwards et al (eds) AAU Press, 1997
  • Kew Bulletin, Vol 58(3), ‘Two new species of Acanthaceae from NE tropical Africa and Arabia' by Ensermu Kelbessa, 2003


(authored either as Sarah Howard or Sarah Sherlock)

  • ‘The Flower that Warms the Cliffs’ in Selamta, Vol 17(3), 2000
  • ‘A Flowering of History’ in Selamta Vol 18(4), 2001
  • ‘Ethiopia – Land of the New Flower’ in The Duncan Lawrie Journal, Autumn 2000
  • ‘Tramping Ethiopia for Aloes’ in The Botanical Artist (Association of American Botanical Artists) Vol 22(1), 2016
  • ‘Botanical Illustration Fieldwork in Ethiopia’ in News File, Summer, 2016 (The Anglo-Ethiopian Society)


For information about classes, or purchasing prints, please contact me using the form below:


Invited to be an Artist in Residence at in Romania, hosted by James and Rachel Candole, I spent late April 2022 tramping the woods and hills for inspiration and learning much about the circular economy of a Transylvanian village. Their studio above the stables looks out to a fine ‘Saxon’ fortified church and is used for botanical painting workshops run by some of the best artists in the game. Do see if you can join one of these exclusive courses.

My picture, Ethiopian Limu Coffee, was selected for the New York Botanical Garden 4th Triennial Exhibition, Abundant Future: Cultivating Diversity in Garden, Farm and Field. It is now part of the American Society of Botanical Artist’s travelling exhibition, 2021 to 2023. Link