I have always loved Victoriana and Botanic Gardens. There is something intangibly fascinating about containing something so vital and wild within something so rigid and structured. This is never more true than at the Palm House in Kew Gardens, where I found such beautiful compositions I was inspired to take out my camera that chilly, crisp, February day!
I had never been to the Palm House before and immediately fell in love with the greenery and the atmosphere, but also the architecture of the building. I loved how the sweeping panes of glass and huge iron pillars encased this tropical jungle and gave structure to a wild space.
As always, colour was very important to the work, but I was especially inspired by the deep greens, which is reflected in the final pieces. The juxtaposition of crisp white, periwinkle blue and the deep, sumptuous green in every photograph really excited me and suggested freshness, but also luxury.
Each of the prints are named after the flora in the photographs. Laurel Clock Vine, Calathea and Black Pepper all make an appearance, and “Arecacaea” is the latin name for the palm tree family. Finally I named the abstract, textural designs Burton Stripe and Tanner after the architect and engineer behind the Victorian Palm House- Decimus Burton and Richard Tanner.
All of these compositions of lush vegetation would be developed into beautiful, botanical screen prints and combined with luxurious fabrics to make the PALMHOUSE Collection. Combining the disciplines of hand painting and screen printing, each piece is an exercise in artistry. I see the work as bringing a snapshot of wild Victoriana into your home.
All work ©Katie Charleson