The Pantheon at Stowe, late 1960s from Rena Gardiner by Julian Francis & Martin Andrews
In a recent post about Cotehele in Cornwall I included a couple of images of lino prints by Rena Gardiner, a Dorset-based artist and printmaker. I was so taken with them that I decided to find out more about her. Googling came up with very little apart from the fact that there was a recent biography and that she’d produced a lot of guidebooks for the National Trust in the 1970s and 1980s. So it was off to the British Library to look at them.
The biography is a beautiful produced book by Julian Francis and Martin Andrews, packed with images of her work but still containing very little in the way of biographical information. It appears Rena Gardiner was a quite private woman for whom work was the centre of her life.
In the words of one critic: “Combining the great tradition of British topographic artists with the rich era of autolithography of the 1940s and 1950s, she created her own very personal and individual visual style. An unsung heroine of printmaking, uninterested in publicity or fame, she created an artistic legacy that is instantly recognisable for its exuberant use of colour and texture.” Continue reading
Iris latifolia, c.1755, Salisbury Museum
As the eyes of high society and the horticultural world turned to Chelsea, the doyenne of all flower shows world-wide, this week I thought it was time to turn my attention towards another even older connection between the plant world and Chelsea. These date back to about 1743 and the foundation of the Chelsea porcelain factory, sited close to the river and the even older-still Chelsea Physic Garden.
from Georg Ehret’s Plantae et Papiliones Rariores, 1748-59
If you’re wondering what plants have got to do with porcelain china you’ve obviously never eaten soup from an iris, custard out of a cabbage or drunk tea from a cauliflower.
detail of iris latifolia from Georg Ehret
Still puzzled? Then read on…
The “improved” Gothic window at Barningham. Notice the parterre carpet! from Fragments
Repton is well-known as our first landscape gardener but he was much more than that. It’s often overlooked that he was an architect too, [although with less obvious success and renown] and much of his writing is concerned with the marriage between the two arts.
If you’ve read anything about Repton before now you’ll know although he was a good judge [and manipulator!] of clients, but underneath his willingness to compromise he had very fixed views about many aspects of design, and one of his particular obsessions was glass.
He hated it! Well, of course, that’s not literally true but he ceratinly had very decided views about windows, [and the views from them] and hated to see visible glass in many situations.