Stately home's plants star in painting exhibition
THE plants and flowers of the Brantwood estate feature in a new exhibition at the former home of John Ruskin.
A major solo showcase of watercolours by Sally Bamber follows in the footsteps of Ruskin’s watercolour flower studies, which reflected his taste for small unassuming plants.
Sally has been drawn to the quieter, predominantly wild flowers found in Brantwood’s more hidden leafy corners - the woundworts, ragworts, and bog asphodels on the higher woodland slopes; yellow rattles, plantains and eyebrights in the hay-meadow.
Over two years, and on frequent visits, these lowlier species inspired her as she explored the garden in its seasonal cycles.
Having relocated from London to rural Cumbria in 2008, Sally was still relatively unacquainted with wild flowers so encountered them through an artist’s eyes rather than those of an informed botanist.
Her resulting paintings express her delight in discovering this world of minute detail and exquisite design. Rooted in patience and a slowing down of time, Sally’s series embodies this freshness of vision.
Extending the scope of her exhibition, she has frequently embraced the expertise of the team of gardeners, partnered wildflower poet Maggie Norton and linked with medical herbalist Sarah Atkinson, and energy practitioner Jane Alexander, all of whom offer valuable insights and complement Sally’s watercolours.
There are framed and unframed watercolours, hand-made sketch books, custom-made packets of Brantwood hay-meadow seeds and greetings cards, available for purchase.
When the C-Art Extraordinary Places programme gets under way, Sally will be in the Severn Studio at Brantwood each day from Saturday September 12 to Sunday 27, painting flowers, showing visitors around her work and inviting visitor participation to paint and draw from the fresh flowers in the studio.
Maggie Norton arrives for a poetry performance on Sunday 20, from 2pm, where she will be performing her wildflower poetry in the Severn Studio amongst Sally's wildflower paintings.
Flowers at Brantwood is on display in the Severn Studio at Brantwood, daily until November 1, from 10.30am until 5pm. Admission is included in the house or garden ticket.