“This exhibition is a celebration of local artistry and a love of nature”

The Gazebo in the Orchard at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent

Starting on January 21, visitors to Sissinghurst Castle can enjoy a free exhibition of local innovative artwork. Running until March 19, the show, which is entitled From Little Acorns: Art Inspired at Sissinghurst, will feature a variety of art and will appeal to all ages. Eileen Leahy finds out more about the exhibition…


On January 21, the historic Sissinghurst Castle, former home to writer Vita Sackville-West and her diplomat husband Harold Nicolson, will host a two-month art exhibition.

The From Little Acorns: Art Inspired at Sissinghurst exhibition runs until March 19 and will showcase artwork that was created in the garden’s historic Gazebo in the summer of 2022.

The Gazebo was designed and erected by brothers Nigel and Benedict Nicolson in 1969 as a memorial to their late father Harold Nicolson, co-designer of the formal garden at Sissinghurst Castle alongside his novelist wife Vita Sackville-West.

It was within this structure, that Nigel wrote his most famous work, ‘Portrait of a Marriage’ (1973), which was inspired by the beauty, love and bonds that thread through Sissinghurst Castle’s formal garden and its history.

Last year the National Trust offered up the famous Gazebo to local artists so they too could be inspired by its views. Dozens responded to the opportunity and it is these sessions which produced the impressive results which form the centrepiece of the From Little Acorns… show.

Held in Sissinghurst’s famous Oast exhibition space, the new show will feature the work of 16 different artists who were shortlisted. The individual displays will include various mediums including abstract sculptures, poetry, photography and more. The exhibition space, along with its octagonal interpretation, mirror the shape of the full-size Gazebo for additional effect.

“This exhibition is a true celebration of local artistry and a love of nature, following in the footsteps of the garden’s creators author Vita Sackville-West and diplomat Harold Nicolson,” explains a spokesperson for the National Trust, who have owned the house and gardens since 1967.

When asked what inspires them the most about the famous castle and gardens, one of the exhibiting artists says: “I can lose myself in Sissinghurst, inspired by the history and the beauty that is seen in each season of the year. I can then reflect this in my artwork, using bright colours to mirror those of the flowers, and getting completely lost in nature.

From Little Acorns: Art Inspired by Sissinghurst runs from January 21 to March 19 and is open from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

Entry to the exhibition is free (£4 standard car parking charge for non-National Trust members).

For more information visit: nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/sissinghurst-castle-garden/from-little-acorns-exhibition

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