The Jill Smythies Award

A medal and £1,000 to a botanical artist for outstanding, diagnostically relevant, published illustrations

Established in 1986 by the late Mr B E Smythies FLS, in honour of his wife, the late Florence Mary Smythies ("Jill"), whose career as a botanical artist was cut short by an accident to her right hand. Awarded to a botanical artist in recognition of excellence in published illustrations in aid of plant identification, with the emphasis on botanical accuracy and the accurate portrayal of diagnostic characteristics.

Nominations are now open. Please send your completed form to by 30 September 2024.

Eligibility Criteria


  • The Jill Smythies Award is open to any botanical artist of any nationality or age.
  • The nominee cannot, at the time of nomination, be a member of Council.
  • The nominee does not need to be a Fellow of the Society.
  • Self-nominations are not accepted.

The artwork submitted must be outstanding botanical art that is an accurate portrayal of diagnostic characteristics and an aid to identification. It should include:

  • The subject matter may include algae, fungi or plants.
  • The submitted work should include two or more items of the same taxonomic group for comparison (not necessarily from the same publication), so there is a diagnostic element to the illustration.
  • The works submitted must be published botanical illustrations. In order to assess botanical accuracy, it is important that each illustration must be submitted with the relevant text accompanying it.
  • Digital work is eligible.
  • Submissions should include a minimum of five examples of the nominee’s work, from at least two publications. These can hard copy, pdfs, or links to Open Access journals They must be accompanied by the relevant text describing/referenced by the illustration.

The submissions should exclude:

  • Illustrations that do not portray diagnostic features, such as flower illustrations that are merely artistic or illustrations en masse of seeds or fruit.
  • Illustrations of cultivars of garden origin.

Format of submission:

Due to the Linnean Society’s lack of access to many electronic journals, examples of work should be provided either as hard copy or as PDFs, at the candidate's (or nominator's) expense. Please do not send online links to pdfs, unless the journal is Open Access.

    Nominations should be submitted by completing the downloadable form and sending to by 30 September.

    Jill Smythies Award Recipient 2024

    Maria Alice de Rezende sits in a forest looking down at a giant leaf from the Coccoloba gigantifolia in her lap
    Credit: Maria Alice de Rezende

    Maria Alice de Rezende

    Maria ‘Alice’ de Rezende began training as a botanical illustrator the Rio de Janeiro Botanic Garden in 2002, where she provided 23 illustrations for the Flora Neotropica (Metzgeriaceae). Her Graduation in Fine Art and Master’s Degree in Botany culminated in illustrations on bryophyte conservation in the Biodiversity and Conservation Journal in 2015. Alongside her hundreds of illustrations, Alice has also taught in Rio de Janeiro and in the Amazon, where she studied species found in the Amazonian Campinarana, later returning to teach workshops and evaluate the effects of climate change and human interference on this biome. Alice served on the steering committee for Brazil’s Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition.

    Previous Recipients of the Jill Smythies Award

    • Sue Wickison (2023)
    • Andrew Brown (2022)
    • Not awarded in 2021
    • Alice Tangerinini (2020)
    • Deborah Lambkin (2019)
    • Niki Simpson and Juliet Williamson (2018)
    • Karin Douthit and David Williamson (2017)