The Century Ilex Trail

This was another walk last summer, one of many suggested by the Tourist Office in Montefollonico where we were staying, but we chose this particular walk because of its promise of an ancient tree. Even though it was confusing. When I read, Discover the 100 years oak, I assumed it was a typo and they’d omitted a 0. Why celebrate a centennial tree? It must be a millennial. It was titled, The century Ilex trail, but then I read, You will get to the Palazzone farmhouse where, on your left, lies the big field hosting the ancient oak. Surely an ‘ancient’ tree must be more than a hundred years old. Well, that was the impetus for this walk, to guess the age of the tree, but I’m no dendrologist. Read more

Frames of reference

The Leaves Of Southwell

I was reading Up The Forest! one of the many contributions to Arboreal, a book I got late last year. It’s a wonderful compendium of woodland writings, a bumper book of tree stories. In this particular story Sue Clifford recalls her Nottingham childhood, Nottingham Forest FC, the coal mines interwoven with houses, fields and woodland, Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest. Read more

Frames of reference

Josef Frank @ FTM

The Fashion & Textile Museum in Bermondsey was founded in 2003 by Zandra Rhodes, in a converted warehouse redesigned by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, a disciple of Luis Barragán. Their current exhibition is Josef Frank: Patterns-Furniture-Painting. Read more

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Debbie George – Still Life Painter

A short film from Alun Callender following the process of artist Debbie George,
exploring how she creates her beautiful still life paintings.

Debbie George / The Rowley Gallery

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Retreat & Rebellion

Two Temple Place is a neo-Gothic mansion on the north bank of the Thames, east of Somerset House on Victoria Embankment in London. It was built in Early Elizabethan style, entirely of Portland stone, for William Waldorf Astor in 1895. On the roof, there is a gilded weather vane, a model of the Santa Maria in which Columbus discovered America; the Union Jack flies from the flagpole and beside the gate hangs a wrought iron bulldog. Since 2011 the house has been managed by The Bulldog Trust as a venue for exhibitions of publicly owned art from regional UK collections. Read more

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Landscape – Paul Nash – Wittenham Clumps

I was in a room with many people. They were mostly grey haired and quietly dressed in the way of National Trust members. One or two young men stood intently looking. The room titled We Are Making A New World is the gallery in the Tate exhibition devoted to Paul Nash’s WW1 paintings. It is quiet except for the gentle tap of feet or the occasional mute whisper. The mood is that of a chapel of remembrance. As though the only person with a right to speak was Nash. The silence of these works is awe inspiring considering the ear shattering noise that would have dominated the scene, as well as the stink of shit, rotting flesh, tobacco smoke and cordite. We are silenced by the works hung on these walls. The older visitors seem to be wrapped in memories passed to them by fathers and grandfathers who had seen this for themselves. The young men I take to be artists come to understand how this great artist had made these images, witness to such pointless violence. Read more

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For Jonathan Savill


It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Jonathan Savill. He was the proprietor of The Rowley Gallery and our employer and mentor until his retirement in 1995.

In 1969, upon hearing that The Rowley Gallery was about to close, Jonathan Savill and Jack Rutherford determined to rescue the business. Both had been customers for many years, but it was Savill with his artistic and cabinet making skills who breathed new life into the ailing company. An Old Etonian ex Guards officer with interests in gardening (a family tradition – his uncle had created the Savill Garden at Windsor Park), fishing and painting, his pictures were regularly exhibited at The Rowley Gallery, alongside works by his wife, notable botanical watercolourist, Jenny Jowett. His enthusiasm sustained The Rowley Gallery for over 25 years. Read more

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A Writer’s Retreat

Tucked away in a hidden valley, garden writer and author Anna Pavord’s carefully considered patch nestles up to the surrounding Dorset countryside. “I wanted to make a handshake between the garden and the wider landscape.”

Having originally met Pavord at a Wakefield and Northern Tulip Society show, photographer and filmmaker Howard Sooley first visited Sunnyside Farm as it was being laid out some ten years ago and is still charmed by its Through the Looking Glass qualities. “It’s as if there is a series of doors leading you from one room to the next with signs telling you to drink the potion,” notes the director.

Such are the rich textures, punctuated by bursts of colour from the shifting tulip, iris, peony moments, and packed with Pavord’s botanical fixations and experimentations… “Even though there is a lot going on, there’s this incredible sense of calmness – the garden never excludes the landscape, it’s always welcoming,” says Sooley.

Great Gardens: A Writer’s Retreat | Nowness

Frames of reference

Ox Drove

I seem always to have been drawn to trees as a motif in the landscape, possibly because of their strong architectural forms. There are parallels as I am also interested in interior space, and as with interlinking rooms I find receding pathways compelling in the way the eye is taken through the picture plane. Read more

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For John Hubbard

This short film was made for the exhibition, Littoral: John Hubbard in Context at the Luther Brady Gallery in Washington, D.C. in 2013. “People found it fascinating to learn more about where he lives and how he works. His singing was quite a revelation.” It’s a lovely portrait and a touching memorial to a deeply romantic artist. John Hubbard died on 6th January 2017. He was 85. Read more

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