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25 September 2019Kew Gardens
17 September 2019An Artists Garden
10 September 2019An Artists Garden
09 September 2019Wells and Somerset Holiday
18 July 2019The Queen’s College Librarian’s guided tour of the C.17th Upper Library and C.21st New Library
04 June 2019V&A Review
22 May 2019Dresden Holiday May 2019 Review
07 May 2019Chavenage House Tetbury Review
28 March 2019Christ Church& Oxford University Real Tennis Court Review
05 February 2019Russia:Royalty and the Romanovs The Queen's Gallery Review
23 January 2019The Art of Islam
12 November 2018Guided Tour of the BMW Mini Works
13 September 2018Sculpture in the Vineyard
28 August 2018Tate Modern, Picasso 1932 - Love Fame, Tragedy.
10 July 2018An Artist's Garden
26 June 2018Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery and the Hospital of St Cross in Winchester
11 June 2018HOLIDAY- North Northumberland
20 April 2018Oxford Union and Exeter College. A Guided tour with Alistair Lack
28 March 2018Compton Verney, Ravilious & Co
28 February 2018Mary Fedden. A voice of her own
25 January 2018Queen's Gallery. Charles II: Art and Power
27 September 2017Oxford Union Murals & Burne-Jones tapestry in Exeter College
12 September 2017Lamport Hall, Northants
05 July 2017Kensington Palace and the Serpentine Gallery
15 May 2017Wellby Collection
11 May 2017Paul Nash and the Wittenham Clumps Walk
26 April 2017HOLIDAY to Naples
07 March 2017Surprising Nudes; Ashmolean leacture
20 February 2017The Oxford of Inspector Morse A Guided walk with Alistair Lack
07 February 2017Paul Nash Exhibition at Tate Britain
14 December 2016Christmas Lunch
10 November 2016Visit to the V&A. Review
01 November 2016Picture Frames at the Ashmolean museum. Review
29 September 2016Guided tour of the Bodleian Library. Review
14 July 2016Shipwrecks - Lecture at the Ashmolean
29 June 2016Madresfield Court & Beauchamp Community, Malvern. Review
25 May 2016Dinah Reynolds at the Ashmolean What is Porcelain – the finest of all Ceramic Wares?
13 April 2016Cookham - Stanley Spencer Gallery and John Lewis Archive
11 February 2016Painting the Modern Garden
02 December 2015Christmas lunch with the Organ Grinder
13 October 2015Windsor Castle
29 July 2015Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
24 June 2015Winchester Flower Festival
02 May 2015ADFAS HOLIDAY: Loire Valley & Monet’s Garden
25 February 2014Royal Albert Hall and a Kensington Museum, London
27 November 2013Australia, Royal Academy, London
26 September 2013Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, Tate Britain, London
10 July 2013Burghley House, Lincolnshire
09 April 2013American Museum, Bath
18 December 2012Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Christmas Cracker Concert, Cadogan Hall, London

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Kew Gardens
Wednesday 25 September 2019

Kew Gardens

Wednesday 25 September 2019

 A visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew conjures up an expectation that the 300 acres stretching down to the Thames with its collection of 14,000 trees will be something special, and so it proved to be.  Most of the trees had still held their leaves, but colours were starting to change to autumnal russets.  And those who inspected the labels were quickly aware that what seemed a quite familiar tree was so often an unusual variety of a common species – oak or ash, for example.  This while parakeets twittered in the branches above.

 But Kew is so much more than a huge plant collection – not only trees, of course, set out in glorious vistas, but herbaceous borders, alpine collections, vegetable and grass gardens, and so much more.  The buildings are exceptional.  The great pagoda, after some years of relative neglect, has been restored, with 80 dragons spread from the bottom to the top gleaming in the sunlight.  The two imposing glasshouses – the Palm House and the newly refurbished Temperate House, both veritable cathedrals – are triumphs of Victorian design and engineering.  Our expert architectural guides were able to tell us about the skills of Decimus Burton and Richard Turner, and how and why they used both wrought iron and cast iron, each with different properties, in the structures they were creating.

 Kew has a palace.  It is not a grand stone building, but a more modest, almost domestic, 17th century brick house with Dutch gables.  It was easy to imagine why the Georgian royal families decamped to Kew, away from London and Windsor – a private and peaceful place (and with no jets overhead every 90 seconds heading for Heathrow).  As one of our party said, “I could live here!”

 Spread both inside the glasshouses and outside there was an exhibition, entitled ‘Reflections of nature’, of glass sculptures by the American artist Dale Chihuly.  Some small, some massive, they provoked mixed responses.  Perhaps the most striking was a glass globe made up of writhing, sinuous red, orange and yellow threads, set off by extensive plantings in the same colours, with the curvaceous Palm House as a backdrop.