PRESS RELEASE – November 2022
Watercolourist, Jo Dowers, to be Denmans next Artist-in-Residence.
Denmans Garden is delighted to announce that Jo Dowers, a local watercolour artist, is their new Artist-in-Residence for the year 2022/2023. Jo, who has a degree in Fine Art Painting, is a member of Sussex Watercolour Society and is inspired by landscapes & nature as well as the work of Turner, Dufy & Klee. She has been running regular creative watercolour workshops at Denmans for the past couple of years so is already well acquainted with the garden.
Gwendolyn van Paasschen, Chair of the John Brookes-Denmans Foundation said that
‘We are delighted that Jo has agreed to be Denmans’ second artist-in-residence. Having taught workshops here for the past four years, it will be interesting to see her experiment and challenge herself over the next year, just as Sue England did during her year in residence. We look forward to seeing the garden through her eyes.’
Jo agreed, saying that “I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to be Denmans second artist in residence spending a year portraying this magical garden. I have always been inspired by nature & plants & am looking forward to exploring the wonderful colours, pattern & shapes that the garden will offer as the seasons change. In the words of Ivon Hitchens, ‘Don’t try to find a picture. Find a place you like & discover the picture in that’.
Original creators of Denmans Garden, both Joyce Robinson and John Brookes MBE were interested in the concept and connection between art and the garden. Mrs Robinson had a painterly aesthetic, referring to her garden as her ‘canvas’ while Brookes, a Modernist, was influenced strongly by abstract painters, Ben Nicholsen and Piet Mondrian. He taught that garden design is about the ‘relationship of shapes’ and believed that understanding abstract art could teach his students to understand how to create patterns and shapes in a garden layout and how those patterns and shapes should relate to each another and the architecture of the house. He remained keen to show that the connection between art and garden is multifaceted.
Denmans Garden wants to preserve this artistic legacy and began its Artist-in-Residence programme over 2021/2022 with Landscape Artist Sue England. Jo now takes up this mantle, and an exhibition of her work in the Pavilion at Denmans Garden will follow her year long residency in October 2023. More information will be available direct from the Denmans website nearer the time.
Jo will be recording her experiences and observations on her website and Denmans will include updates on the garden’s website blog as the year goes on, beginning with an interview with Jo available here:
For more information on Jo go to
For more information please contact Louise Campbell: firstname.lastname@example.org 07540892364
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The former home and garden of the late John Brookes MBE, one of Britain’s most influential landscape designers, Denmans Gardenfeatures dry riverbeds, gravel gardens, a walled garden, a conservatory, and unusual plants from around the world. The contemporary 4-acre garden was converted from market garden to ornamental garden by plantswoman Joyce Robinson who started the gravel gardens in 1970.
In 1946, Joyce and Hugh Robinson purchased land that had belonged to Lord Denman at the turn of the century. They moved into the dilapidated gardener’s cottage and renovated the badly neglected property, creating a successful market garden, complete with greenhouses, conservatories, a walled garden, dairy, and piggery. Their produce went by train to Covent Garden Market and to local shops. Joyce, known as Mrs. J.H., eventually converted it from market garden to ornamental garden, residing in the charming cottage until her passing in 1996.
John Brookes MBE moved to Denmans in 1980. Until his death in March 2018, he revised the garden continually, integrating Mrs. J.H.’s planting style and retaining the two dry riverbeds she created. Renovations he began are ongoing.
Today Denmans is a contemporary country garden renowned for its curvilinear layout, faux dry riverbeds, water features, complex and unusual plantings, and its peaceful year-round interest.
Located between Arundel and Chichester, Denmans is highly significant in the history of garden design.