We're pleased to offer this event as part of our online Public Programme
Throughout the past year of lockdowns, gardens have become central to more and more people’s lives. As our pace of life slowed down and our worlds became smaller, our relationships with nature have provided a source for mindfulness and inspiration, and outdoor spaces a place for creative expression.
In this online panel talk, garden writer Alice Vincent is joined by Head of Horticulture at the Horniman Museum Errol Reuben Fernandes, artist Francis Hamel, who has spent lockdown painting the gardens at Rousham House, and artist gardener Rufus Biddle; as they shed light on the way lockdown has altered their own relationships with the garden and their thoughts on the nation’s renewed joy in nature.
Alice Vincent - Chair
Alice Vincent - Chair
Alice Vincent is Features Editor at Penguin Books, having previously worked as a writer and editor on the arts desk of the Telegraph. After teaching herself to garden in 2014, Alice started to share her adventures in urban gardening through Noughticulture, a newsletter and Instagram account, as well as in a column for the Telegraph. She has since written for Gardener’s World and Gardens Illustrated, appeared on Gardeners’ Question Time, collaborated with Hunter, Finery, Monsoon and Seedlip, among others, and hosts workshops and a YouTube channel for Patch Plants. Her first book, How To Grow Stuff, was published in 2017. Rootbound was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize.
Errol Reuben Fernandes
Errol Reuben Fernandes
Errol Fernandes has recently been appointed as Head of Horticulture at the Horniman Museum in South London where he now manages the 16 acres of stunning gardens there. Prior to this, he was Senior Gardener for the 112 acre Kenwood House estate in Hampstead, North London that is managed by English Heritage.
With a background in fine art, curation, gallery education and psychotherapy as well as being botanically trained, Errol's approach to landscape management, horticulture and design is creative, thoughtful and sensitive. Errol is particularly interested in ecological and sustainable horticulture and develops planting schemes that sit comfortably alongside nature, have a low impact on the environment both in terms of implementation and maintenance but he also strives to push the boundaries of contemporary horticulture and design practice. Working with comminities, sharing knowledge, nurturing collaborative working practices and inspiring the next generation of horticulturalists are principles that are central to his work.
Francis Hamel is a painter based in the UK and working between studios at Rousham in Oxfordshire and Le Marche in central Italy. He is known for his landscape painting and portraiture. His practice involves painting and drawing from observation and also includes paintings of the circus and theatre, flowers, still life and monumental tree paintings.
In 2008 he was commissioned to make a large collection of murals and paintings for permanent display at Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly. In 2019, Francis exhibited a collection of 28 portraits of leading figures in film and theatre at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London together with a collection of theatre paintings, this coincided with the publication of a book of his collected work. ‘Francis Hamel paintings and drawings'. Following two trips to China in 2019, his last exhibition “Painting the Yellow Mountain’ was a collection of landscapes from China and Hong Kong. As well as painting the great gardens of Central and Northern Italy he has painted a number of British gardens including those at Highgrove by invitation from HRH The Prince of Wales. His next exhibition will be a large collection of paintings and drawings of the gardens at Rousham, where he lives. The exhibition will be at the John martin Gallery in October 2021 and will be accompanied by a book of the work with essays by Francis, Tom Stuart-Smith, Christopher Woodward and Joanna Kavenna.
Rufus Biddle is an artist, gardener and landworker whose work explores our cultural connection to nature through writing, photography, food, gardens and agriculture.
Having completed a three-month long research trip visiting gardens across Japan, to living in inner-city London during the Coronavirus lockdowns, Biddle is now working across the world as a landworker, bridging the gap between the arts and agriculture, with gardening sitting in the middle.
Understanding the effects of the climate crisis is influential to the making of work. Having both a process-based way of working and living as an environmentalist is key to how we as a society can heal the damage that has been done by the generations before us.
Rufus is also co-founder and director of Publib, an online platform representing the wealth of socially engaged art practices present in the UK.