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A Legacy of Ancient Oaks

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Kew Exclusive Price £20 (RRP £30)

This beautiful book is a celebration of the mighty oak, through the passion and vision of artist Mark Frith.

Authors: Mark Frith with text by Emma Crichton-Miller. 112pp. 230 x 290 mm. 51 b/w illustrations. Hardback, ISBN 978 1 84246 667 4, Kew Publishing 2018.

Winner at the 2019 British Book Design & Production Awards for Exhibition Catalogue

This beautiful book is a celebration of the mighty oak, through the passion and vision of artist Mark Frith. Mark has drawn large scale portraits of 22 of Britain's oldest living oaks, with exceptional detail conveyed in these intricate graphite works, bringing the ancient features of these majestic individuals to life on the page. The book accompanies the exhibition of the same name at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens, from 6 October 2018 – March 2019.

Growing up in the Gloucestershire countryside, Mark enjoyed a childhood experiencing the natural world and in particular developed a huge closeness to a local ancient character – the Great Oak at Nibley Green. Mark would return to this tree in 2010 as the first of his series of oak drawings, commissioned by the publisher, poet, philanthropist and planter of trees Felix Dennis. These large-scale drawings measuring 1.7 m wide took Mark three and a half years to complete and were finished just before Felix Dennis’s death in 2014. Following Felix Dennis's wishes, his estate bequeathed 10 of the drawings to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

A gazeteer is provided at the end of the book with the locations of each tree.

This stunning book is the ideal gift for art and tree lovers alike, and a fitting dedication to these ancient individuals.

I hope that in some modest way these drawings express man's profound relationship with the natural world, and, if it has one, something of the soul of the ancient oak tree. Mark Frith

Media reviews:

Striking artworks capture the majesty and magic of the ancient oak tree - National Geographic 


Mark Frith studied fine art at Bristol, winning the New Contemporaries Prize on graduating, before turning to a career as a BAFTA award winning film maker. In 2010 he returned to drawing and spent three and a half years working on Britain’s ancient oaks.


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