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Secret Garden artists raise £9K

by Michael Ford last modified 08 Jan, 2020 11:08 AM

A book containing 120 botanical paintings depicting the flowers, trees and plants from the ‘secret’ gardens of Salisbury Cathedral Close has helped to raise thousands of pounds for the Cathedral.

Secret Garden artists raise £9K

Nick Stiven, Anne Oaten, Duncan Glass, Sally Pond

'Secret Gardens of the Close' created by Salisbury Florilegium Society raised £9,000 in just two months.

Sally Pond, who teaches botanical painting, founded the Society with fellow artist Nick Stiven as a result of the Friends’ first Secret Gardens of the Close afternoon in 2016, when homes in the Cathedral Close opened their gardens to the public. The event is now an annual crowd puller.

Nick Stiven said:

"Since 2016, the 20 artists, many of whom attend Mrs Pond’s classes at Sarum College, have created a collection of 120 botanical paintings depicting the flowers, trees and plants from the ‘secret’ gardens."

The paintings were exhibited at the Medieval Hall during the Secret Gardens event, and last year Mrs Pond’s idea to incorporate them into a book, with the profits going to the Friends, took shape.

Society members raised nearly £6,800 – about 95 per cent of the cost of designing and printing the book, which has a forward by Bishop Nicholas, who along with his wife Helen, opens the South Canonry garden on Secret Gardens day and raises money for the Sudan Medical Link from the sale of tea and cakes.

An online auction of the original paintings was held, finishing at the end of October when the book was launched at Sarum College. The auction raised £5,645, rising to £6,445 by the end of December, with 41 pictures sold. Sales of the book total 260 copies.

Sally said:

“We are delighted with the book sales to date and very pleased with the outcome of the online auction.

“We have been able to donate £9,000 to the Friends of Salisbury Cathedral and look forward to making further donations to the cathedral in this, its 800th year.”

The Chair of the Friends, which gives annual grants towards projects at the cathedral, Duncan Glass paid tribute to society members for their “inspiration, artistry and generosity”, and thanked them for making the Friends the beneficiary of the sales of the books and paintings.

Nick Stiven added:

“We will give careful thought how best to direct a grant for £9,000 for a special project in the Cathedral that will be a visible and lasting enhancement to our medieval masterpiece for all to appreciate.”

He also thanked the Close residents who have allowed the Friends to use their gardens and invited the artists to produce artworks from their homes.

The society will be exhibiting and selling framed paintings at the Medieval Hall during the Friends’ Secret Gardens of the Close event on Sunday 24th May, at which the book will also be on sale.

The book is available from the Friends’ office, Sarum College, and Salisbury Cathedral gift shop, or via the society’s website shop.

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