Helen Allen BA Hons, PG Cert Ed, Dip EGS, FLS

Helen trained originally as a textile designer at the University of Leeds and as a teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge. After some years as a primary school teacher in London and Scotland, she ran her own catering business in south-east London and the City, followed by a number of years managing medical research projects.

Helen studied for and received the prestigious Diploma in Botanical Illustration from the English Gardening School at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. She was Course Director of the diploma course in Botanical Illustration and Painting for 8 years, retiring from the school in December 2012.

Helen opened the Chelsea School of Botanical Art based in the Chelsea Physic Garden in January 2014 and was the owner and Principal until its closure in 2019. It was a privilege and delight to see talented and dedicated students graduate and make their way in the world of botanical art and related crafts.

Helen has been an RHS Picture Panel Judge since 2014, a most enjoyable privilege. She is a retired fellow of  the Chelsea Physic Garden and Hampton Court Palace Florilegium Societies and an active member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Association of British Botanical Artists.

Working from her studio, The GreenHouse in Ham, she paints and offers classes and masterclasses in botanical art and illustration.


Detail from Camelia Tricolor


Helen has exhibited at galleries and botanic gardens in London and overseas including: 

Chelsea Physic Garden, London

National Botanic Garden for Wales

Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburg

The Shirley Sherwood Gallery in the Royal BotanicGardens, Kew

Ebury Galleries, London

Hortus, London

Hampton Court Palace

Embroidery Gallery, Sunbury

The Garrison Chapel Gallery, Chelsea

Pharmacopaea at the Royal College of Physicians

The Museum ‘De Buitenplaats’, Eelde, The Netherlands

Romanian Cultural Institute, London

The Garden Museum, London

Ursus Gallery, New York

HIGHGROVE FLORILEGIUM international exhibitions 

TRANSYLVANIA FLORILEGIUM international exhibitions


Helen’s work has appeared in many publications including:

Surrey Life; The Richmond Magazine; The Highgrove Florilegium; The Flower Arranger; Apothecaries Garden; House and Garden Magazine; Country Life; Pharmocopaeia; The Transylvania Florilegium; Botanical Illustration from the Chelsea Physic Garden. 

Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society Tenth and Twentieth Anniversary Volumes


By the League of Friends of the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital of Calendula officinalis for presentation to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the hospital.

By private collectors in the United Kingdom, Europe and USA.


The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh

The archives of the Chelsea Physic Garden

The archives of Hampton Court Palace

The Highgrove Florilegium

The Transylvania Florilegium

The Art and Archives Collections in the Royal Botanica Garden, Kew

Private collections