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Biographical entry Stones, Elsie Margaret (Margaret) (1920 - 2018)


28 August 1920
Colac, Victoria, Australia
26 December 2018
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Botanical artist


Margaret Stones was a Botanical Artist renowned for her taxonomical accuracy. She is known for her illustrations for the influential six volume bookThe Endemic Flora of Tasmania, with text by botanist Winifred Curtis. From 1958, Stones also contributed over 400 watercolours to Curtis's Botanical Magazine. The genus Stonesia (Podostemonaceae) was named in her honour.



1936 - 1938
Education - Studied industrial art on three-year scholarship at Swinburne Technical College, Victoria
1940 - 1941
Education - Attended night classes at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School
1942 - 1945
Career position - Nursed at the Epworth Hospital in Richmond, Victoria
December 1946
Life event - First exhibition of botanical art at Georges Gallery in Melbourne
1948 - 1950
Life event - Joined the University of Melbourne Botany school summer expeditions to the Bogong High Plains, Victoria
1952 - 1981
Career position - Moved to England and worked independently for the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and other botanical institutions
1956 - 1981
Career position - Principal contributing artist to Curtis's Botanical Magazine
Commissioned by Post Master General's Department in Canberra to prepare a set of floral designs for Australian stamps
1967 - 1978
Career position - Illustrated The Endemic Flora of Tasmania
Veitch Silver Medal received from the Royal Horticultural Society, London
Award - Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
1977 - 1987
Career position - Ten year contract to draw Louisiana Flora
Represented in the Flowers in Art from East and West' at the British Museum, London (one of only seven contemporary artists)
Career position - Principal exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, USA
Career position - Principal exhibition at the Louisiana State Museum, USA
Life event - Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc (Hon)) received from Louisiana State University, USA
Veitch Gold Medal received from the Royal Horticultural Society, London
Award - Eloise Payne Luquer Medal received for special artistic achievement in the field of Botany. Awarded by the Garden Club of America
Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
Life event - Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc (Hon)) received from the University of Melbourne
Career position - Exhibited 90 drawings of Louisiana Flora at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Papers of Margaret Stones, 1952 - 1984, MS 7476; Stones, Margaret; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Hooker, Claire, Irresistible Forces: Australian Women in Science (Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 2004), 215 pp. Details
  • Zdanowicz, Irena, Beauty in Truth: the Botanical Art of Margaret Stones (Victoria: National Gallery of Victoria, 1996), 96 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Barker, Robyn, 'Margaret Stones (1920 - 2018)', Australasian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter, 177 (2018), 47-8. Details


Resource Sections

See also

Ailie Smith & Helen Morgan