An artist whose work has been inspired by one of Yorkshire’s leading award-winning gardens, the Himalayan Gardens and Sculpture Park, will have an inaugural exhibition this November.
Calligrapher and painter, Sophie Roberts, will display 40 pieces of her floral artwork in her debut exhibition, ‘Painting a Garden’ at Tennants in Leyburn. The exhibition will be free to attend and open for one month from 16 November until 18 December.
Sophie, 38, grew up in London and spent her life in the city, working in property.
Her career as an artist flourished after she married William Roberts, whose parents, Peter and Caroline, set up the Himalayan Gardens, which William now manages.
Sophie said: “I met William in London on a blind date, and we’ve been together ever since. We married a couple of years after and he was always clear that Yorkshire was home. I call him a homing pigeon, there was no doubt he would come back to Yorkshire.”
The couple had their first son George, now 7, in London. During maternity leave, Sophie began to explore her creativity and her love of art. She set up a business producing Calligraphy, initially from her kitchen table, producing pieces for friends’ weddings and christenings.
Sophie said: “I grew the business and began working for larger clients, like Fortnum and Masons and some fashion brands. During that time, my mother gave me a botanical painting course as a Christmas present. I loved it. It was great to understand the structure of plants, breaking down the tone, the colour and the lines.”
Moving to Yorkshire in 2018, pregnant with twin girls, she continued her Calligraphy and illustration commissions. But when Covid lockdowns hit, the commercial commissions stopped and she turned to painting to fulfil her own creativity.
Sophie said: “I was excited to move to Yorkshire, as my grandparents had lived in Burn Bridge near Harrogate, so it was a big part of my childhood. As a child, when I wound the window down when we arrived in Yorkshire, I could just smell it, the fresh air – it felt like you’d arrived. So, to now live in this stunning area is amazing. Just going for a walk is an inspiration. I was completely drawn into trying to capture nature and my surroundings.”
An open-air gallery with over 80 striking contemporary sculptures in a tranquil valley, the Himalayan Gardens cover 45 acres of woodlands, gardens and an arboretum, with three lakes. It hosts the North’s largest collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias, with nearly 20,000 plants.
Sophie kept her hand in botanical drawings, setting up workshops in the gardens for the public with artist Bridget Gillespie, a botanical illustrator for over 20 years. Before the era of photography, artists were depended on to share botanical drawings to scientists.
“My paintings became much free-er,” Sophie explained, “I started posting my paintings on Instagram and got traction with people asking to buy them, so it grew from there.”
Many of the paintings in the exhibit feature flowers, such as magnolias and foxgloves from the Himalayan gardens, in antique vases that have featured in the auctions at Tennants.
Visitors will have a chance to ‘Meet the Artist’ on 17 November, when Sophie will be painting live in the gallery.
For media enquiries contact email@example.com 0753 194 8014
Address of Exhibition
The Garden Rooms at Tennants, Leyburn, North Yorkshire DL8 5SG
Sophie Robert’s framed paintings are available to buy to cater for all budgets between £100-£2000.
Download Photos of artwork https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/l7t2wo00jpj8ct9y4vl3k/h?dl=0&rlkey=v3id5bkczi1dwtcayoix8we1w
About Sophie Roberts
About the Himalayan Gardens