Local artist, Jill Fry was welcomed by Exbury President Nick de Rothschild as her stunning ‘Secret Garden’ exhibition opened at the Gardens’ Five Arrows Gallery on Friday (12 June). Taking inspiration from the New Forest and nearby coastline, Jill – based in Holbury - displays works across a wide range of media including acrylic paint, collage, textiles and watercolour. A frequent visitor to Exbury Gardens, Jill can often be found in a quiet glade with her sketchbook in hand, especially in Exbury’s own Secret Garden – The Sundial Garden – which features extensively in her works.
Jill and her good friend Cherry found inspiration from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden novel whilst recovering from illness a few years ago, and quotes from the book are displayed in the exhibition, together with works inspired by its characters, including Mary, Dickon and Colin. "I’m thrilled that the publishers gave me permission to use references from the Secret Garden" said Jill. "One of my favourite quotes is: ‘If you look the right way you can see the whole world is a Garden.’ I’ve certainly found this to be true and it has inspired me and kept me going through the difficult periods. There was one point in producing the Secret Garden introductory collage that my arm hurt so much that I thought it would never be completed, but trips to Exbury and Fairweather’s Learning Centre in Beaulieu gave me strength to finish the work, and I’m thrilled at the outcome."
Nick de Rothschild commented: "Jill is a real talent. For Exbury to host an exhibition across such a wide range of media, all from the work of one artist is exceptional. I offer my congratulations to Gill and her team from the East Boldre Painters who have assisted her, and urge everyone to see the show."
Jill will be exhibiting her works in the Five Arrows Gallery from Saturday 13th June to Sunday 19th July, and entrance is included with admission to Exbury Gardens.