The Tithe barn at Thyme has become a well-known destination for contemporary art with a carefully considered art program curated in conjunction with leading art dealers and artists. The exhibition this summer will be a solo show by the contemporary artist Endellion Lycett Green (Delli) in collaboration with the Laura Lopes gallery.

Delli has spent the past two summers painting in the water meadows of Thyme, which make up a third of this beautiful estate in Southrop, upon which sits the hotel and restaurant gracefully restored by the talented Hibbert family.

This exhibition is described by Delli as a sort of ‘florilegium’ to the place; ‘The water meadows with their delicate orchids, meadowsweet, mare’s tail, buttercups and grasses is where the journey began…’

Nasturtium 'Empress of India' by Endellion Lycett GreenNasturtium 'Empress of India' by Endellion Lycett Green (Image: Courtesy of Tithe Barn at Thyme)

Delli grew up in a household full of writers and artists; her mother, Candida was a prolific writer and passionate gardener and her maternal grandmother, Penelope also passed on her deep knowledge of plants and wildflowers. Her Grandfather, the Poet Laureate, Broadcaster and Writer Sir John Betjeman was a constant source of encouragement who regularly exchanged drawings and poetry with Delli, Being part of such a hive of creative activity meant that becoming an artist was a completely natural choice, ‘it couldn’t have been otherwise’.

Throughout her prolific 27-year career, Delli has always found nature to be a constant source of inspiration and has become well known for her bold, sensuous paintings focused on plant life. She describes her work as ’a lifelong homage to plants.’ The paintings begin outside with a photograph or drawing as she finds herself drawn to the configuration of different plants. These initial studies are then developed at home in her studio in Pewsey.

Delli’s large-scale paintings, which lean towards subtle abstraction in their celebration of form and colour, reveal a fascination with the composition of plants. Her first moment of creative inspiration is often found in the more subtle structure of the foliage of a plant rather than the immediate beauty of the bloom. The long-held meaning of certain plants also excites her creative interest; Solomons Seal, the inspiration for the title of the exhibition and one of the plants she happened upon whilst painting at Thyme, has a six-pointed symbol along the root stock which is synonymous with sacred geometry such as Metatron’s cube, the nautilus shell, or the Fibonacci sequence. It these historical analogies, coupled with the structure and unique character of each individual plant that draw Delli to each species.

Delli’s fascination with composition, continues in her close observations of the interactions between different plants. She is often drawn to the elegant positioning of plants growing side by side marvelling at the way they seem to peacefully share the sunlight ‘their leaves interweaving, as if there is an unspoken dialogue between them.’

I dreamt of Cornflowers by Endellion Lycett Green (Image: Courtesy of Tithe Barn at Thyme)

‘I dreamt of Cornflowers’ (pictured) was inspired by Caryn Hibbert, Founder and Creative Director of Thyme and a passionate conservationist. Her resplendent borders in the walled garden are brimming with poppies, cornflowers, clary sage and cosmos which are captured in this large-scale painting which illustrates the movement of the flowers against the complex, interweaving background of stalks and foliage.

Then there is Caryn’s cutting garden and extensive productive gardens, that have been carefully designed by Caryn and her long-standing collaborator, Bunny Guinness. It is here that Delli found the ‘Double Hellebore’ (pictured) and the dark nasturtiums ‘Nasturtium ‘Empress of India’ (pictured)’ and was moved to create gladioli works on paper.

Garden designers Julian and Isabel Bannerman have long been huge admirers of Delli’s work and will be joining her ‘ in conversation’ at Thyme to share how a passion for plants has inspired their individual creative journeys.

I Saw Solomon’s Seal by Endellion Lycett Green at the Tithe Barn at Thyme, Southrop runs from June 5 - September 6.