myamanakaMasumi Yamanaka was born in Nara, Japan in 1957. She came to London in 1987 to work for Marks & Spencer as a ceramics designer, and has  been living in London for 26 years.

After becoming a freelance designer, she worked for ceramic manufacturers and retailers such as Royal Doulton, Portmeirion, The National  Trust, Vista Alegre (Portuguese), and Crate & Barrel (U.S.A).

Masumi has studied under Pandora Sellars; Pandora is an artist who has a long running affiliation with Kew and has illustrated a number of monographs as well as contributing a significant number of illustrations to Curtis's Botanical Magazine.

Masumi has shown work at the RHS including a series of Camellias at the London Flower Show for which she was awarded a Silver-Gilt Medal. She was also awarded The Margaret Granger Memorial Silver Bow: by the Society of Botanical Artists for her illustration of "Hippeastrum" (watercolour). This illustration appears in the SBA's associated publication 'The Botanical Palette' and the original work is now part of the collection at Kew.

Masumi has exhibited in Kew’s Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art in the exhibitions on ‘Trees’ - Winter 2009, ‘Bulbmania’- Summer 2010 and ‘Kew Artists’- Spring 2011. In 2015 the Shirley Sherwood Gallery staged an exhibition of Masumi’s work illustrating Kew’s Heritage Trees including some of the oldest and iconic specimens in the Gardens. The accompanying publication entitled ‘Treasured Trees’ received critical acclaim.

Masumi was the recipient of a gold medal from the RHS in 2010 for her illustrations of Aesculus indica ‘Sydney Pearce’, illustrated from the specimen at Kew, and all of these paintings are now held in the Kew collection. In addition Masumi’s work is held in private collections throughout the world.

Masumi is a Japanese Exhibition Coordinator at Kew and has been a freelance artist based in the Herbarium since 2007.