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Philippa Nikulinsky

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Name  Philippa Nikulinsky
Philippa Nikulinsky Botanical artist Philippa Nikulinsky Books and Arts ABC Radio

Born  1942Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Known for  Botanical illustrator, author
Books  Firewood Banksia, Wildflowers in Watercolour: Journal

Philippa Nikulinsky, AM, born in 1942, is an artist and botanical illustrator based in Western Australia.



Nikulinsky was born in Kalgoorlie in 1942, a remote region in central Western Australia. She began working as an illustrator of natural history in the mid 1970s, specialising in plants from harsh environments. Her illustrations have been included in many books and magazines. She is the author or coauthor of books on plants, animals, and their environment. Other works include the cover art for Landscope, scientific journals, and other publications.

Nikulinsky has made contributions to Flora of Australia. She is the author of a work on Banksia menziesii (Firewood Banksia), provided illustrations and text to Life on the Rocks (with Stephen Hopper), and a large format art book called Soul of the Desert. Many of her works include several organisms, illustrating the ecological relationships of the primary subject, and are noted for possessing high levels of detail while still maintaining a sense of spontaneity. As with other botanical illustrators, she works primarily in watercolour.

In 2012 Nikulinsky, along with her husband Alex published a book of paintings on the Cape Arid National Park. The Cape Arid collection is owned and displayed at COMO The Treasury.

On 26 January 2016 Nikulisnky was awarded Member (AM) in the general division of the Order of Australia, "for significant service to the visual arts as a botanical painter and illustrator, to professional associations, and as an author."


Nikulinsky has been praised for her work on Banksia menziesii, describing each stage of the reproductive cycle. The inflorescence of banksias is regarded as one of the most challenging subjects to depict. The brief text is accompanied by a series of extraordinary illustrations, both endpapers showing a seed of the species.

  • Flowering Plants of the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia: Goldfields of Western Australia. (1986) International Specialized Book Services. ISBN 978-0-9592644-0-1
  • BANKSIA MENZIESII (1992) Philippa Nikulinsky. Fremantle Arts Centre Press. ISBN 978-1-86368-035-6.
  • Life on the Rocks: The Art of Survival (1999) Philippa Nikulinsky and Stephen D. Hopper. Fremantle Arts Centre Press ISBN 978-1-86368-258-9.
  • Wildflowers in WatercolourPhilippa Nikulinsky. Fremantle Arts Centre Press (November 2000) ISBN 978-1-86368-320-3.
  • 1999 Australian Wildflower Diary (2000). Philippa Nikulinsky. International Specialized Book Services. ISBN 978-1-86368-231-2.
  • Soul of the Desert (2000) Philippa Nikulinsky and Stephen D. Hopper. Fremantle Arts Centre Press (October 2005). ISBN 978-1-921064-06-7
  • Cape Arid (2012) Philippa and Alex Nikulinsky. Fremantle Press. ISBN 978-1-922089-00-7
  • References

    Philippa Nikulinsky Wikipedia