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On Rousham: With Francis Hamel, Tom Stuart-Smith and Christopher Woodward

Artist Francis Hamel and garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith met at Rousham House – Francis had been living in the old laundry building on the grounds and had a studio in the stables since 1996, and Tom had been visiting the garden regularly for about 20 years. Since then they have been regularly walking the garden together, swimming the river and in Francis’ case, painting the place.

In this event, joined by Christopher Woodward, they discuss the profound impact of the garden on their lives and their work with particular reference to the current exhibition of 80 paintings made by Francis since the beginning of the pandemic. This collection of paintings must be one of the most thorough examinations ever made by an artist of a garden.

The collection captures both the seventeenth century walled gardens with espalier pear trees, dovecote and box parterre as well as the eighteenth century Pleasure grounds designed by William Kent with the seven arched Praeneste, cascades, the rill and the octagonal ponds.

A  book of the paintings will be published to coincide with the exhibition featuring essays by Francis Hamel, garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith, the novelist Joanna Kavenna, and Garden Museum Director Christopher Woodward.