Frances Topping

Charlestown, RI


Frances Topping

Frances was born in England, where she developed a love of the countryside and nature. Later experience as an interpretive naturalist in the United States added to her knowledge and is reflected in her artwork. Her illustrations show a combination of the natural world and its expression on paper, whether for viewing enjoyment or instructional purposes.

Her lifelong interests in natural history and art have culminated in paintings and illustrations primarily reflecting a nature theme. Helping others to stop and see the intricacy, beauty and scientific wonder of nature will, she hopes, inspire others to care for, preserve and enjoy the natural world as well as learn from it.

She holds Bachelors degrees in Geography, with Botany and Zoology from the University of Sheffield, UK and Graphic Design with Photography and Illustration from Akron University, OH. Additionally, she earned a certificate in Natural Science Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her education, augmented with numerous workshops over the years has prepared her for a varied approach to natural history illustrations.

Frances has worked as a naturalist and artist for the Cleveland Metroparks, OH. She has taught botanical and watercolor art at Mystic Museum of Art, CT, and Wickford Art association, RI. She has been commissioned to prepare interpretive signage and murals for nature centers, and conservation organizations. 

She is a member of the American and New England Society of Botanical Artists as well as The National and New England Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and is active in various environmental and art organizations.

Selected Group and Solo Shows:
  • New England Society of Botanical Artists group shows
  • Guild of Natural Science Illustrators New England Chapter Shows
  • Guild of Natural Science Illustrators National show
  • Narragansett Bay Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Audubon Environmental Center, Bristol, RI
  • Four Starr Gallery, CT
  • University of Rhode Island
  • Local Art Associations in Ohio and Rhode Island
  • Friends of Canonchet Farm, RI – interpretive signage
  • Avalonia Conservancy CT – interpretive signage
  • Rhode Island Wild Plant Society – Posters 
  • Rhode Island Natural History Survey – T shirt design
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service, RI – T shirt design
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History OH – large murals of Rainforest and dinosaurs
  • Ohio Audubon – Brochures on wetlands, forest and prairie with teacher guides
  • Cleveland Metroparks OH – Tree ID signs, other interpretive signs, brochures and exhibits
  • Ohio Division of Watercraft – posters, brochures and exhibits

Frances’s portfolio