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Figs and Apricots by Emma Tennant
Home > Exhibitions > Emma Tennant: A Botanical Tour of Great Britain from the Scillies to Sutherland

Emma Tennant: A Botanical Tour of Great Britain from the Scillies to Sutherland

Emma Tennant’s botanical watercolours will be shown in a selling exhibition at the Garden Museum from 6 March – 28 April 2019.

Tennant says, “I cannot remember a time when I was not interested in both gardening and painting. I must have been born with a trowel in one hand and a paintbrush in the other.”

She began her career as an artist by recording the plants that she grows in her garden in southern Scotland, and now travels widely to find her subjects. As a keen botanist, her paintings are accompanied by notes delving into the history of her subjects, paying tribute to the famous plant hunters and explorers of the past.

This exhibition of 50 paintings includes, among much else, narcissus and clianthus from the Scillies, mimosa from the Isle of Wight, sea kale from Norfolk, quinces from Suffolk, Magnolia campbellii from Lismore in Ireland, artichokes from North Wales, a wild waterlily from Sutherland and grapes from the famous vinery at Chatsworth, as well as plants both rare and familiar from Tennant’s own garden.

The artist John Nash said that he travelled furthest when he stayed at home. This collection shows that it is possible to grow plants from many parts of the world in our benign climate.

All works are watercolour and ink on either an off-white Nepalese paper, or a Japanese kind made from the bark of a tree called Broussonetia papyrifera. Both absorb pigment, which makes it possible to achieve great depth of colour.

The film Emma Tennant: Artist and Gardener by Ben Wood will also be shown at the Garden Museum.

All pictures are for sale, framed in either antique frames or frames gilded by Isabel Tennant, Emma’s daughter. Prices range £700-£8000.

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