Exploring The Garden Museum

Last week I took my ‘artist-child’ on a date to London to soak up some inspiration and explore a Gallery and Museum that I hadn’t been to before. 

My visit was to The Garden Museum and it was very inspirational. It’s a really beautiful space, I love how the venue has been created with the merging of the old church of St Mary-at-Lambeth and the new additional modern architecture, all surrounded by lush greenery. The museum is situated on the banks of the River Thames, with Westminster Abbey just over the water. I was fortunate that the sun was shinning brightly on the day that I visited and so it was extra beautiful! 

The museum has a permanent collection of the history of gardening including artefacts and tools, botanical art, photography, and paintings. It also hosts temporary exhibitions and there were a couple on that particularly drew me to visit that week!…

One of these was Rosie Harbottle ‘In Nature We Play’ exhibition, which was in collaboration with British lifestyle brand TOAST for their spring summer 2024 seasonal theme of Outdoor Pursuits. I have followed Rosie’s lovely work for quite some time. It’s really beautiful and playful and she has an amazing use of colour, I’m so glad I was able to get there to see it. 

Another of the temporary exhibitions that I enjoyed seeing was Frank Walter. Frank was an Antiguan artist, writer and environmentalist. His work explores Caribbean and black identity, social justice, environmentalism and the complexity of nature. I really loved his bold use of colour, brush-work and naive style. The exhibition was really informative and atmospheric through visuals and sound. The space that had been created really evoked a sense of his life and work. Walter’s work is on show until 25th February 2024. 

Among many, I really liked these two little paintings by Frank Walter.

Whilst I was there I was also fortunate enough to be able to join a drop-in painting workshop as part of the Museum’s ‘Branch Out’ programme of free events and activities. This particular workshop was being hosted by Katy McIntyre Brown, a botanical artist, and Russell Coles of Horatio’s Garden charity. It was great to get out and chat with other people (as like many artists I’m so used to working alone) and to paint just for fun!

This is me enjoying a peaceful time painting some spring tulips.

The Garden museum also has a really lovely shop and cafe/restaurant, the food was amazing, I’d definitely recommend!! There is a beautiful courtyard garden to explore, my table was situated in a window overlooking this and I could have whiled away many hours sitting looking out at the stunning garden!

The museum also has a medieval tower that you can climb up in the original church part of the building. I managed to make it to the top of the 131 winding steps (it’s a tight spiral staircase) and I was rewarded with breathtaking views over London and the River Thames, across to Westminster Abbey, in the beautiful sunshine. 

There are some other really lovely looking exhibitions coming up on their calendar. I would really love to try and get down to see the Jean-Marie Toulgouat, (who is the great-grandson of Claude Monet by marriage) exhibition starting in mid-March! And the ‘Gardening Bohemia: Bloomsbury Women Outdoors’ staring in May looks very exciting too- in fact ALL of their programme looks so inspiring! 

My next stop was an hour in The National Gallery to see some of the old masters, which was also lovely to visit before my train back home! All in all it was great day out that really filled up my ‘creative well’, I recommend! 

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