Sketch in Bloom in commemoration of the National Gallery bicentenary

To commemorate 200 years of the National Gallery’s, Sketch presents the tenth edition of their innovative floral exhibition ‘Sketch in Bloom’.

Sketch in Bloom exhibition for 2024, exhibit by JamJar
The Glade- JamJar Flowers (© Mark Cocksedge)

The immersive floral exhibition marks 20o years of the National Gallery, by showcasing floral interpretations of iconic artworks within Sketch’s historic setting. The exhibition aims to immerse audiences in Britain’s rich artistic legacy and celebrate the cultural impact of its most renowned artists. Playing its part in the National Gallery’s momentous bicentenary celebrations this spring, this innovative exhibition promises to transport visitors through a world of blooms, uniting people, art, nature, and Britain’s cultural heritage.

The home of the three Michelin-starred Sketch is an impressive Grade II* listed building on Conduit Street in London, designed by James Wyatt in 1779 and was the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects – later becoming the London Atelier of Christian Dior. In 2002, restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and chef, Pierre Gagnaire founded the restaurant. A destination for food, art, and music the Mayfair venue is renowned for its (cultural) experimentation and for turning its interior architecture into a canvas for artists and designers.

Sketch in Bloom, will see the iconic building transform its neoclassical spaces into a blooming homage to seminal artists from the National Gallery’s collection. The exhibition pays tribute to iconic masters such as Alfred Sisley, JMW Turner and Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder through large-scale floral centrepieces, textured hangings, and reimagined botanical beings. Visitors will be immersed in Sisley-esque pastoral landscapes amid hills of colourful blooms, gaze upon an abstract floral ceiling piece drawing from Turner’s dynamic seascape or encounter extraordinary ‘Plant Beings’ embodying Bosschaert’s still life composition.

Sketch in Bloom’s floral artists

Paying tribute to the National Gallery bicentenary, 2024 Sketch in Bloom features the work of four floral artists

  1. Rebel Rebel: Exhibiting in the entrance hall and reception, creative floristry duo Rebel Rebel present their installation representing a series of fifteen prints inspired by National Gallery favourites. Each week the still-life floral arrangements, cut mostly from their Norfolk garden are refreshed. The centrepiece is an interpretation of Edouard Manet’s portrait of muse and painter Eva Gonzalès, surrounded by a gold frame suspended from the ceiling to allow visitors an opportunity to become part of the painting.
  2. Lucy Vail Floristry: Exhibiting in the lecture room and library, Lucy Vail’s installation is a tribute to Alfred Sisley, whose inspiration was founded in the British landscape and English heritage. Titled Pastoral Inspiration, the floral centrepiece of delicately pressed flowers represent a reimagining of Sisley’s The Small Meadows in Spring.
  3. JamJar Flowers: Entitled ‘A Vision Under Vine‘, JamJar Flowers have created a dreamlike installation in The Glade, inspired by Turner’s masterpiece Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus. Sumptuous textiles with intricately knotted ropes are draped across the ceiling, incorporating botanical materials including flax fibres, honeysuckle, bog myrtle, bear and elephant grass, reeds, willow, and grasses arranged to form drifts echoing the waves and sails from the painting. A collaboration with fabric installation artist Mia Sylvia, who works with botanical dyes made from foraged flowers and food waste like onion skins and avocado pips.
  4. Yan Skates: An exhibit that brings people and paintings together in the ‘Plant Beings’ installation which is inspired by the National Gallery’s A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase by Dutch Master Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. A whimsical celebration of the famous painting, embodying rich colours and wild floral combinations to create a human form.

“Working with Sketch over the past 7 years has been the most creative and enjoyable relationship in our career. We love how we have been allowed to spread the wings of our imagination and encouraged to step far away from conventional floristry on many projects over the years. ..There is nowhere like it and we are delighted to be back to celebrate the glorious month of May at Sketch with our representation of Turner’s painting to celebrate the bicentenary of The National Gallery”, explains Sally McMillan of JamJar

Sketch in Blooms runs throughout May, from the 1st until the 27th.