Spring is the perfect time to explore new places in England. Kew in West London is famous for its Royal Botanic Gardens which contains more than a dozen different architectural buildings full of plants, flowers and artefacts and is highly recommended to delight visitors of all ages.
A special Victorian pavilion contains the work of one talented female artist. Marianne North (1830-1890) was a Victorian who travelled the world discovering nature and recording its beauty to share with everyone who could visit her unique exhibition in the United Kingdom’s capital city.
Hundreds of detailed paintings of flora and fauna can be found carefully rendered in oils and hung like a huge jigsaw puzzle in guilt frames throughout the splendidly traditional space.
“After a successful exhibition of her paintings in a London gallery in 1879” (2) Marianne North worked with the architect James Fergusson to design a classical house of art inspired by a Greek temple in which to display her life’s work which opened soon after. North continued travelling and adding to her collection which trips that included South Africa, the Seychelles and Chile.
The attraction can be found on the south east side of Kew gardens near to Lion Gate entrance and 1km from Richmond rail and underground station. There are also car parks at the venue’s perimeter.
The official leaflet invites you to “step inside this spectacular gallery and admire 833 botanical paintings” (1) The handsome interior which includes an original tiled floor and all the colourful pictures create a breathtaking scene as you enter the special space.
Tickets cost £22 for adults and includes entry into the whole of Kew’s landscaped parkland and palaces. Taking a picnic and making a day of it is a good idea and there are plenty of smart cafes in splendid surroundings in which to relax and find refreshments.
A cultural treat which gives the public a glimpse into the world of exploring Victorians and an interesting way to learn about different species of plants and flowers. The Marianne North gallery is an extraordinary legacy by an independent travelling women which was very rare in the nineteenth century. A visual feast of a show for those who enjoy nature and history and a cherry on top of a marvellous trip to the botanic park in its seasonal glory, set alongside the famous river Thames.
(1) Kew Spring Leaflet https://www.kew.org/
(2) Marianne North http://www.kew.org/mng/marianne-north.html