Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born 10 August 1908. Died 8 September 2009.
Perth. Amateur botanist, botanical artist and illustrator. IIlustrated her own works, Orchids of the West (1951), Triggerplants (1958), and Plants of Prey (1958).
She also wrote historical books such as The Drummonds of Hawthornden in 1968.
Rica was named in 2006 as one of the 100 Most Influential People ever in Western Australia’s history by an eminent panel and sponsored by The West Australian and in 2007 was awarded the Heritage Council of WA Individual Award.
J.Gooding Wildflowers in Art (1991); H.Hewson Australia - 300 Years
of Botanical Illustration (1999)
Portrait Photos: (top) As a young woman, ex Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter 135 (June 2008), p.18
(below) 1974, supplied by Rica to M.Fagg for botanical art exhibition in ANBG, 1974
Wildflower painter, botanical illustrator, author, naturalist, teacher and farmer's wife Dr Rica Erickson was born in Boulder in 1908, the daughter of Christopher and Phoebe Louisa Topping Sandilands née Cooke.
Rica won a scholarship to the Eastern Goldfields High School and lived with her grandmother whilst her parents went farming at Kendenup. After monitoring and teacher training she was sent to various one-teacher schools in the South West. Here she commenced painting. Introduced to Emily Pelloe's books on Western Australian wildflowers and given an excellent box of Windsor & Newton watercolours she had private lessons with Brenda Holland in Albany on watercolour techniques.
In 1936 she married farmer Sydney Uden Erickson of Bolgart and was compulsorily retired by the Education Department. Four children in four years as well as home schooling for some years meant little time for painting until 1950 when all the children were at school and later boarding-school.
Exhibiting her paintings at the Wild Life Show in 1946 saw her persuaded by Dr Dominic Serventy to write a book to go with them. This began a career in botanical research followed by historical research and then editing.
She and her husband travelled round Australia and overseas. In 1964 they retired from the farm to give Rica more access to research facilities.
Rica was the author or editor of some twenty books and collaborated on a number of others. Her Biographical Index and Dictionary of Western Australians was the first project of its kind in the world. In 1980 she was Citizen of theYear for the Arts in Western Australia and awarded an Honorary D. Litt. by the University of WA for services in fields of botany, history and literature. In 1987 she was awarded the Order of Australia (Gen Div.) for service to the arts particularly as an author and illustrator. Other awards include Honorary Life Membership of WA Naturalists Club, 1966, Fellow of the Royal WA Historical Society, 1975, Hon Life Member of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA Branch) 1982, Fellow of the WA Genealogical Society, 1987.
In 1991 she had her first solo exhibition. In 1996 the first Western Australian Nature Reserve named for a living person was named in her honour. In 1999 she was honoured with the plaque for the year 1980 in the paving stones in St Georges Terrace. In 1999 she was also honoured as an older woman of science in Canberra. In 2006 she was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in Western Australian history. In 2007 she won the State Heritage Award for an individual. In 2009 she was one of fifty famous goldfields people profiled in an exhibition in the Museum of the Goldfields, Kalgoorlie.
Source: pers.com. Dorothy Erickson (10/4/2013)
SEE MORE DETAILS:
'Vale Rica Erickson' by Bronwen Keighery
Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter 141 (December 2009) p.30-32
( https://asbs.org.au/newsletter/pdf/09-dec-141.pdf )
Data from 772 specimens