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Mark Edwards - Garden and pots, Wormingford, 2015
  • Exhibition

Mark Edwards: Countless Edens

  • Thursday 11 January – Sunday 11 February 2024
  • 10am - 4pm
  • 74 High Street, Colchester, CO1 1UE
Past event

Mark Edwards' photo series captures the essence of Bottengoms Farm, a 17th-century Yeoman's cottage in Wormingford, Suffolk. This remarkable building was the home of the painter John Nash and his wife Christine from 1943 until the late 70s.

Upon moving in, Nash set about transforming the overgrown and neglected land into a new garden. Mirroring the nineteenth-century desire for ‘green treasure,’ these plants and flowers, a number of them rare species, were set out and nurtured in part for pleasure and in part for his art. Many found their way onto the front covers of books and journals and into volumes spanning a range of subjects including poisonous plants, English garden flowers in addition to being inspiration for his own still lifes, woodcuts and drawings.

Nash’s garden endures and was tended by the writer Ronald Blythe, who was left both the house and garden by Nash upon his death in 1977. Blythe’s writing is embedded in the English landscape tradition - an authority on Constable and John Claire - his philosophical observations and writings bring together both literary and painting traditions.

In 2015, Mark Edwards started a new body of work in the garden of Bottengoms Farm, inspired by its significance as a place through its connections to Constable, Nash and Blythe. Mark had a close relationship with Ronald whilst he was alive, and his pictures are a personal response to this personal connections, as well as a deep affinity with the English landscape. He works with an 8 x 10 inch plate camera, producing
images rich in detail with a recognition of what Nash described as … ‘looking – of really seeing’

This exhibition is in one of our upstairs galleries, accessed via stairs