Suna Imre and Eileen White 

A host of botanical exhibitions to enjoy at Mottisfont

Visitors to Mottisfont in early summer will have the opportunity to enjoy a number of botanical-themed exhibitions both in the gallery and out in the grounds.

Plants Portrayed and For the Time Being will be shown side-by-side in the gallery from May, while A Good Year for the Roses can be seen out in the Beech Circle from March. Each exhibition is a celebration of plants and the natural world, and will be on display as the National Trust property’s famous rose gardens bloom from late May until early July.


Plants Portrayed is a selection of 34 original contemporary botanical illustrations from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Botanical illustration is a delicate combination of art and science: a true and lifelike representation of a plant that provides a visually striking image. Mottisfont’s exhibition showcases intricately detailed and colourful illustrations of flowers, leaves and trees – including some varieties that you’ll find out in the grounds, such as sweet chestnut.


The exhibition includes work by Pandora Sellars – one of the world’s most important and influential botanical painters – and her former student Masumi Yamanaka, now a renowned artist in her own right.


Pandora Sellars began to exhibit internationally in the early 1970s, and a highly successful solo exhibition was held at Kew in 1990; she was awarded a Gold medal by the RHS in 1977 in recognition of the excellence of her work. Mottisfont’s exhibition includes a number of the original artworks she was famous for, of the genus Arum.


Masumi Yamanaka studied under Pandora Sellars and soon began to show work at the RHS including a series of Camellias at the London Flower Show for which she was awarded a Silver-Gilt Medal, and was the recipient of a gold medal from the RHS in 2010.


Plants Portrayed also includes works by Lucy Smith, Christabel King, Margaret Stones, Andrew Brown, Joanna Langhorne, Rachel Pedder-Smith  and Ann Farrer.


For the Time Being showcases ceramic compositions, prints and artist books from a one-year residency by Hampshire-based artists Suna Imre and Eileen White. Suna and Eileen visited Mottisfont and the wider estate together from autumn 2017 to 2018 to develop their respective practices. Their choice of materials and processes creates a narrative about time, place and the beauty of nature within the cycle of decay and renewal.


For Eileen the project at Mottisfont brought a new dimension to her practice, allowing her work to develop, quite literally, over a long period. She used different ways to capture photographic images without a camera as both a scientific and poetic experience. Suna spent her time closely engaged with the grounds of Mottisfont, responding to the relationship between the estate and the natural world. Her contemplative ceramic pieces are both responsive to the specific time and place as well as reflective of wider environmental concerns.


A Good Year for the Roses is an outdoor exhibition of quirky, colourful portraits taken by The Caravan Gallery in Mottisfont’s famous rose gardens during the summers of 2017 and 2018. The Caravan Gallery is a collaboration between artists and photographers Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale who photograph the reality and surreality of everyday life. Since 2000 they have exhibited, nationally and internationally, in their reincarnated 1969 Bluebird caravan, community spaces and high-profile galleries and museums. The photographs, displayed in Mottisfont’s Beech Circle, capture the resplendent colours of flowers and visitors alike.


Plants Portrayed and For The Time Being will be on display in the gallery fromSaturday 4 May – Sunday 7 July. Mottisfont’s gallery opens at 11am and closes at 5pmA Good Year for the Roses will be on display in the Beech Circle from Saturday 9 March – 30 June 2019. Normal property admission price only, free for National Trust members. For visitors unable to access the second floor gallery, Mottisfont has digital versions of exhibitions on iPads, which are available on lower levels.


For more information about the exhibitions, click here or call 01794 340757. For more information about Mottisfont visit

Photo Gallery :

1. Paphiopedalum fairreanum – Pandora Sellars. Masumi Yamanak, courtesy of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

2. Styphnolobium japonicum (Japanese Pagoda Tree, RBG, Kew)  Masumi Yamanak, courtesy of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

3. The Caravan Gallery

Main Image: Suna Imre and Eileen White 


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