Painting Paradise, and sneaking looks at Buckingham Palace garden through bars….

Now, Writer in the Garden hasn’t been getting out as much as she’d like recently, but when she does, she goes in style.


Last week I went off to the launch of Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace no less. That’s the curator, Vanessa Remington above, who wrote the accompanying book, Painting Paradise which I am still lusting after.

Here’s what she said: ‘The exhibition tells the story of how gardens have developed over time and of the many ways in which they have been valued by their royal owners. From the practical manuals they read to the botanical images they collected, and most of all from the many beautiful images of royal gardens, we can gain a real sense of how each generation of the royal family created their own corner of Paradise.’


And as she says, this is an exhibition about royal gardens first and foremost so I’m sure it will pull the tourists in.


But then it deserves too. I thought it was rather wonderful. So many stories here. Such as this painting of Charles II and his gardener, John Rose, from 1677.


Marvellous handing over of a pineapple there, ALTHOUGH at the time of the painting, no fruit had been successfully raised in Britain. So it was just wishful thinking.

And then there’s the extraordinary Sunflower clock from the Vincennes porcelain factory, c1752…


And what about this Victorian glass chandelier… the writer in the garden likes garden in the home very much indeed!


In particular, these delicate Faberge plants almost floored me with desire…



This one, the celandine, belonged to Vita Sackville-West. From one very royal presence to another…


And there’s the view of Hampton court, c 1704-14, by Leonard Knyff. I’ve only seen it in books during my garden history studies before, but there are so many details – deer, sundials – that you just don’t see unless you look close up.


Those two sundials in front of it are actually featured in the picture. Although so small and dot-ty that you probably would have to take a magnifying glass to see them properly.


What else? Oh yes, these magnificent tulip vases, thought to be the largest ever…


And I did promise a view from behind bars. Here you go, the Queen’s garden seen just outside the gallery…


4 thoughts on “Painting Paradise, and sneaking looks at Buckingham Palace garden through bars….

  1. I went to the Bloggers’ Breakfast on Friday and had a wonderful time – I could get used to coffee served by a footman! It’s a fabulous exhibition, which has stayed in my thoughts since. I loved the Dicentra and that candelbra is extraordinary – did you watch the video about its restoration? So many pieces – I’m sure I’d have a couple left over at the end if I’d been in charge of it.

    I’ll add a link to you over at my post about the exhibition… xxx

  2. Thank you Sarah for this fascinating insight. I am definitely going to go. John Tradescant was also gardener to King Charles and he has Canterbury connections with the Woottons and others inc Chilham Castle. My garden in Bekesbourne has a very old Acacia tree said to have been planted by him.

    I now have your book about gardens in Kent and one I think you might have missed is Belmont House near Faversham – a hidden treasure with: an amazing vegetable garden designed by Lady Arabella Knox; a poignant pet cemetery; a walled garden; a fairytale conifer; a grotto; a nuttery; and lots more besides.

    If you go to visit Buckingham Palace during the annual summer opening you can exit the house via the garden and can stroll there – no need to look through the bars of a window.

    Kind regards Jill Thomas

    • Thanks Jill. What a wonderful thing to have a tree planted by Tradescant. Do you have a photo of it?
      And yes, I had to leave so many beautiful gardens in Kent out. I’m grateful you have got a copy of my book though,

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