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Home > Sanctuary Revisited: A new online exhibition in collaboration with Liss Llewellyn Fine Art

Sanctuary Revisited: A new online exhibition in collaboration with Liss Llewellyn Fine Art

Mary Adshead, Still-life. Image courtesy of Liss Llewellyn.

Introduction

In the spring we opened ‘Sanctuary: Artist-Gardeners 1919 – 39‘, an exhibition in partnership with Liss Llewellyn. It told the story of how in the period between the wars an exceptional number of British artists turned to gardens as inspirations to their work. Gardens were also personal sanctuaries: many, but not all, had experienced the First World War.

Lockdown cut short Sanctuary but it was so popular when transferred to our website that Liss Llewellyn have curated a second exhibition on the theme: this exhibition, I underline, is online only.

The works are for you to enjoy browsing on your screen. But if you want to buy a picture, a commission of up to 50% goes directly to the Museum, at a time when our survival depends on donations by Friends and followers.

Through three decades of serious research and inspired rediscoveries, Liss Llewellyn have redefined the reputations of a generation of artists, such as Charles Mahoney, Evelyn Dunbar, Douglas Bliss and Harry Epworth Allen. Why did so many turn to gardens?

KEEP READING

If you are interested in purchasing a work from this online exhibition, or have any questions, please contact Christina McMahon, Fundraising Manager, at christina@gardenmuseum.org.uk

Download the Price List

Sanctuary Revisited

In the peaceful period between the wars there were an exceptional number of artists who gardened, taking their activities as plantsmen and plantswomen as seriously as they took their art. These two pastimes often became entwined, and more artists were painting gardens and plants than at any other time.

Clara Cowling, Portrait of Evelyn Dunbar. Image courtesy of Liss Llewellyn.
Douglas Percy Bliss, Spring, 1930. Image courtesy of Liss Llewellyn.

Gardening also nurtured a source of friendship, particularly for the circle including Charles Mahoney, Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman and Percy Horton who were taught painting by John Rothenstein at the Royal College of Art from 1922. The friends exchanged plant cuttings by letter and when, in 1930, Bawden moved to Great Bardfield, Essex, Mahoney and Geoffrey Rhoades dug out a garden side by side through the winter. Charles Mahoney and his lover and fellow artist Evelyn Dunbar travelled widely visiting gardens, writing and illustrating their influential book Gardener’s Choice (1937).

In a need for safe, enclosed and cultivated spaces these artists turned their interest to gardens.

In 1937 Mahoney bought Oak Cottage in Kent, raising sunflowers beside hogweed and Umbelliferaes in a garden that would give him artistic nourishment for the rest of his life. John Aldridge joined Bawden, Ravilious and Tirzah Garwood-Ravilious at Great Bardfield. John Nash bought a farmhouse in Essex in 1940 nearby to Cedric Morris another artist plantsman who had left London in 1930 to build a garden at The Pound with his partner Arthur Lett-Haines.

Charles Mahoney, A sheet of flower studies with anemone. Image courtesy of Liss Llewellyn.
Charles Mahoney, Greenhouse Interior. Image courtesy of Liss Llewellyn.

After World War One these artists found sanctuary and inspiration in painting their gardens, depicting private, sheltered scenes. The reaction to the trauma of World War One saw a return to not just to idyllic, pastoral landscapes, but also to cultivated spaces. This resulted in a golden age of garden painting.

Gallery

If you are interested in purchasing a work from this online exhibition, or have any questions, please contact Christina McMahon, Fundraising Manager, at christina@gardenmuseum.org.uk

Sanctuary Revisited Price List


Acknowledgements

The Garden Museum would like to thank Liss Llewellyn for curating this exhibition. We are grateful to the gallery for their continuing research, support and specialist advice.

George Richards
george@lissllewellyn.com
07497492756

Maude Llewellyn
maude@lissllewellyn.com
07487 819536