PRESS RELEASE – March 2024



Denmans Garden is pleased to announce that local, contemporary sculptor Helen Solly will be exhibiting her unique sculptures throughout Denmans Garden from the end of April through to the end of August.


Inspired by nature and the sea, Helen creates three-dimensional, animated, flowing forms through the physical manipulation of sheet metal often followed by a burnishing technique that gives her metal surfaces water-like reflective qualities.  Beginning with a paper maquette which she scales up to create her impressive three-dimensional sculptures, she works to create a “real sense of movement with her materials, cutting, welding, and folding to make beautiful and lasting shapes”.


Renowned for its curvilinear layout and complex plantings, along with its gravel gardens, dry riverbeds, walled garden and pond, Denmans Garden provides inspiration as well as an ideal backdrop for Helen’s work. In this exhibition, entitled ‘Garden Reflections’, visitors will be able to wander through Grade II-registered Denmans Garden and experience the sculptures in situ.


Having recently had an exhibition of her work alongside Deirdre Dyson’s award-winning collection of bespoke hand-knotted rugs in Dyson’s London gallery, Helen’s work has been widely exhibited – from the Chichester Festival Theatre (a stunning mobile) to Quenington Old Rectory (as part of ‘Fresh Air Sculpture’), Oxmarket Contemporary, and Standen House and Garden.


Gwendolyn van Paasschen, Chair of the John Brookes-Denmans Foundation says: ‘Helen’s work is sensational and her ability to create pieces that are at home in the surroundings in which they are placed is unsurpassed.  It is with great anticipation that we look forward to seeing her work placed here throughout Denmans Garden, which is itself a work of art.  Since Helen finds her inspiration in nature, each piece will reflect the garden space in which is sits so each one will be one-of-a-kind.  We are thrilled to be working with her’


Helen, who graduated from Chichester University with a first-class degree in ‘Fine Art with Sculpture’, says: ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to exhibit some of my sculptures at this beautiful West Sussex Garden. I have taken my inspiration directly from the garden and enjoy watching the changing shapes and colours over the different seasons which is reflected in my work’


Denmans Garden has had a long association with art inspired by the garden. Its original creator, Joyce Robinson regarded it as her ‘canvas’ while John Brookes MBE, who was inspired by Modernist abstract paintings, saw a strong, multi-faceted connection between art and the garden, including land art. More recently Denmans has worked to preserve this artistic legacy with its Artist-in-Residence programme which started in 2021, and showcasing the work of a broad variety of local artists and makers in the Garden, in Midpines Café, and in the gift shop.


Helen Solly’s ‘Garden Reflections’ will be at Denmans Gardens from Sunday 28 April-Saturday 31 August from 9-4 Monday through Saturday and from 11-4 on Sundays.

For updates and information please visit our website


For more on Helen Solly please go to:



For more information please contact Louise Campbell: 07540892364




The former home and garden of the late John Brookes MBE, one of Britain’s most influential landscape designers, Denmans Garden features 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.