Tales from the Sea Garden

Tales from The Sea Garden

Email me: theseagarden@btinternet.com

Sunday, 27 April 2014


Eridge Park, 8th May 2014

Tomorrow morning I shall be setting off in my van ultimately bound for Kent and the Decorative Living Fair at Eridge Park, but stopping en route to see some gardens that I love and to visit an old friend on the Hampshire/Sussex border.  Listening to the weather forecast this evening I think I'm in for a week of showers and also getting much colder, brrrr! 

The Decorative Living Fair is co-organised by Caroline Zoob, and you may already be familiar with her exquisitely detailed embroideries:

For some years Caroline lived as a tenant for The National Trust at Monk's House, the home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf; and last year saw the publication of her book 'Virginia Woolf's Garden'. Having just seen the film 'The Hours' for the first time I am keen to go there when I am in Sussex. To see where Virginia Woolf lived and to walk in the beautiful garden that she created will be a real treat.

Eridge Park is just to the south west of Tunbridge Wells in Kent. The Fair is for one day only; Thursday 8th May. To avoid queuing on the day tickets can be ordered in advance by going to Caroline Zoob's website here. A standard ticket costs £7.50 and allows entry from 11.30am - 5.30pm. Early bird tickets at £10 are also available if you wish to gain earlier entry to the Fair at 9.30am. The Fair will be chock full of beautiful antiques, decorative homewares, garden paraphernalia and unique handmade gifts. I have never visited Eridge before, but I have heard so much about it that I'm really looking forward to taking part.

Here's a taste of what will be on offer on my stand....

Whilst I was at the Trereife Fair last week I took the opportunity to photograph a couple of paintings that hang in the house there. On my first visit to Trereife two years ago I was immediately drawn to these two pictures hanging one above the other on the wall in the front drawing room. I commented to my friend that they looked just like my great uncle's paintings. To my astonishment on closer inspection I noticed one of them was signed, and they were indeed by my great uncle, Edward Morland Lewis!

I asked Mrs. Le Grice, the owner of the house, how the paintings had come to be there, as great uncle Teddy comes from a Welsh family and as far as I knew had no connections with Cornwall. She told me that they were found in a box in the attic, and wanting to find out what she could about them, did a bit of research. I already knew that Edward had been a student at St. John's Wood School of Art and later at The Royal Academy where he met Walter Sickert. Sickert considered him to be his most talented pupil, and Teddy quickly became Sickert's personal painting assistant. Mrs. Le Grice informed me that at some point Teddy had come to Cornwall and befriended fellow artist Alethea Garstin, daughter of Norman Garstin, one of the leading artists associated with the 'en plein air' painters of the Newlyn School. Teddy must have gifted Alethea the two paintings and somehow they ended up in the attic at Trereife.

Sadly great uncle Teddy's promising painting career was cut short by the Second World War. He caught tuberculosis whilst on active service in North Africa and died aged 40.

Edward Morland Lewis
1903 - 1943

Growing up looking at his paintings on the walls of my grandparent's home I must confess I was not greatly enamoured with his painting style, but then they are not the kind of paintings to appeal to children. Now I do see a style and sense of colour that I can admire. I only wish that I could have met him. 

Edward Morland Lewis was the youngest of the ten sons born to my Great-great grandparents from Carmarthen in South Wales, and the eleventh child was my grandmother. But that's another story that will have to wait for a future blog post.......


  1. Oh I would love to go to the fair - too far away, alas - your stall looks delightful and full of goodies I would love to own. I have Caroline Zoob's book on VW's garden - one of the loveliest garden books I own. Hope all goes well for you.

  2. You have a wonderful talent with all your beautiful, inspirational handmade items, so much to look at!!!!...i love the cards with maps and boats~ oh' and the butterflies and flowers...well, everything actually!!!!
    thanks for your message on my blog, lovely to think of you finding love within the Abbey gardens~ how lovely!

  3. Good luck at the Fair! I love your stand, it knocked my socks off at the Country Living Fair -erm..... was it 2-3? years ago?? How time flies! Have a lovely time. Lx

  4. A fascinating post; I love your uncle's paintings, its a perfect example of kismet the way in which you and the paintings of your uncle came to meet!
    Your work is exquisite; much success at the fair

  5. Hope you have great success at the Fair - you have some beautiful items for your stall. Last week I visited Monks House with my sons on a beautiful day and I am sure you will love it. Her writing hut is wonderful you can almost see her writing at her desk. Have a wonderful time.

  6. It's always so exciting to see your artistic works of art, Christine !
    I think that Eridge Park is such a beautiful background for a Fair and you're going to have a wonderful trip, Virginia Woolf's garden is absolutely wonderful ... let's hope the weather forecast are wrong !!
    Have a great time and enjoy these days !
    Fondly xox