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Exhibition showcases the art of gardens

Harold Gilman's House at Letchworth by Spencer Gore

GARDENS though the ages will be the focus of an enchanting new exhibition taking place at Leicester’s Newarke Houses Museum next month.

Nature’s Art: Gardens in Leicester and Beyond is a free exhibition revealing how gardens throughout time have functioned as sources of pleasure, inspiration, and healing.

It explores the differing roles that the region’s gardens have played in people’s lives through the centuries, and how imagery of gardens and plants is depicted in art, clothing and interior design.

Among the items on show are an early fabric Art & Crafts design by William Morris, two stunning tiles representing common flowers, produced by the designer William de Morgan, and a shoe from Leicester-based shoe firm Liberty, which appears alongside a pair of garden wellies.

A colourful 1912 painting, Harold Gilman’s House at Letchworth, by the artist Spencer Gore, potrays the house and garden of one of the first artists to settle in the garden city in which green space and generous gardens took a central role.

In addition, Nature’s Art explores the roles that gardens occupy in people’s lives, from the late 19th and early 20th century watercolours by Leicester-based artist Isabella Charters, whose work shows the smart, formal gardens of the middle or upper classes, to the paintings by George Newton and Norman Ellis, showing gardens filled with washing lines or planted vegetables.

Other works, such as that of 19th century Leicester-based botanical artist Gulielma Burgess, record in great detail particular species of plants and butterflies, some of which are now extinct in the UK. 

The summer exhibition runs from August 6 until October 30.