Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Jeanette Loedolff awarded Cythna Letty Medal

Jeanette with her Cythna Letty Medal
Jeanette Loedolff has recently been awarded the Botanical Society’s prestigious Cythna Letty Medal. BAASA Western Cape is so very proud of her.

The Medal is awarded to someone who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of the South African Flora through the medium of published botanical illustrations, whether line drawings or paintings. The award is named after Cythna Letty, who is regarded as a doyenne of South African Botanical Art, and on her death in 1985 the Botanical Society decided to commemorate her by instigating the Cythna Letty Medal in its Honours and Awards programme.

There are some interesting parallels between the lives of Cythna and Jeanette.

Both were born in the old Transvaal, and schooled at Pretoria. Neither had any formal art or botanical art training, and neither began their careers doing botanical art. Cythna started off as a teacher and nurse, later working as artist at the Veterinary division at Onderstepoort illustrating animal organs. Jeanette obtained a BSc in Zoology and Entomolgy and after this worked in the Dept of Agriculture’s Plant Protection Unit illustrating insects.

Both Cythna and Jeanette took time off for several years to raise families. Cythna subsequently joined the National Herbarium in Pretoria to begin her life’s work of plant paintings and sketches. Jeanette in turn became employed as plant illustrator for the NBI (now SANBI) here in Cape Town. Both carried on their art work after retirement. And both were destined to become prime botanical artists.

Self – taught, Jeanette has used water colour as well as coloured pencil as her art medium. It was only towards the end of her career and into retirement that she was able to attend botanical art master classes. Jeanette’s contribution to the promotion of the South African Flora through her work has been highly significant. She has produced a large range and number of plant paintings and drawings that have been used in scientific publications. Jeanette’s works have also been used in popular publications, in children’s books, and on many informative story boards in Kirstenbosch, the Harold Porter and Worcester Botanical Gardens. Perhaps Jeanette’s most impressive legacy rests in the wonderful poster series that she created for school environmental education. The idea of doing this, as well as the execution of the art work, is entirely to Jeanette’s credit. She painted exquisite scenes of the birds and plants within their natural environments of SA’s different biomes. Ten such posters were created, mass produced by the Botanical Society, and distributed in their thousands to children. What a wonderful, ongoing legacy.

Congratulations, Jeanette, on this well-deserved recognition.

Penny Mustart
November 2014 

Jeanette Loedolff teaches BAASA WC members every Tuesday morning at Molteno Library:
"We are so thrilled for her as she is a constant and giving person who is always there on Tuesdays with loads of advice, tips and stories of birds and plants and makes our Tuesdays so inspirational," says Wendy Burchell.

Jeanette is also an Honorary Life Member of BAASA.

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