Plants in Paintings: Sixties snapshot

c. The Graceful Custom, 2016 1960s paintings

Artworks can be a great way to see how real people live with house plants – often being less styled than in books and magazines, and more like the hotchpotch we might have in our own homes (or those we remember in our parents’ and grandparents’ houses).

These three from the sixties are our some of our favourites from the online public collection at

This ‘exotic plant’ (perhaps a dracaena?) makes a striking painting.

Begg, Nita, b.1920; Exotic Plant

Exotic Plant by Nita Begg, 1968 (c. Glasgow Museums)

This still life shows how plants – in this case a spider plant and its babies – are an integral part of interior decoration, sitting alongside other bits and bobs on our shelves and sidetables.

Gillies, William George, 1898-1973; Still Life with Spider Plant

Still Life with Spider Plant by William George Gillies, 1966 (c. Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Academy of Arts)

This one brings together the popular plant and fashion of the moment, brilliantly evoking the essence of the decade.

Leven, Elsie; Untitled

Untitled by Elsie Leven, 1968 (c. Art & Heritage Collections, Robert Gordon University)