Victoria Messel is a botanical artist specialising in gouache and watercolour. She has travelled and exhibited widely and has a body of work reflecting the places she has visited.
In 1992 she began painting the collection of plants at Nymans Garden, Sussex, to illustrate a book on the estate’s history. She has now made 52 paintings of that collection. She has also painted many specimens at Birr Castle, Co Offaly, which is twinned with Nymans.
Victoria's family includes her uncle, the theatre designer Oliver Messel, and other members have a long history of collecting, propagating and showing rare plant specimens from South America, the Himalayas and Tasmania. The BBC screened a documentary about Nymans. The Messels came to the UK from Germany in the late nineteenth century and have contributed enormously to society ever since - not only in the business world that attracted Ludwig in the first place, but even more famously for their artistic contributions, whether Leonard's and Maud's creation of Nymans, their Bright Young Thing daughter Anne, Oliver's work in the theatre or Snowdon's photography. The programme commented that this has continued with the work of Victoria, and showed some of her paintings of the many plants named after family members.
Victoria has painted many species such as magnolia, rhododendron, berberis and camellia which have a larger representation at Nymans. In 2006, the Nymans Florilegium was set up to record many of the other plants there and an exhibition was held in 2013 to showcase the many contributions made. She is exhibiting her work in a current show at Nymans from January to June 2017.