The Garden at War

Event Date: 
08 Jul 2017 to 09 Sep 2017

New exhibition questions the growing importance of ecology in curatorial practice.



With the recent US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement our impact on the natural world is a hot political topic. This Summer an important new exhibition will open at Stowe House to question the growing concerns around our relationship with the natural world.


Work from Antoine Espinasseau, Joseph Black, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Nicolas Poussin, and Claude Lorrain will go on show in the exhibition being held at the magnificent neoclassical gardens of Stowe in Buckinghamshire, England. The exhibition, ‘The Garden at War: Deception, Craft and Reason’, explores the garden as a site of conflict with the natural world.


Including newly commissioned work from contemporary artists alongside historical pieces, the exhibition questions the concept of the pastoral tradition and how we can interpret it today. The French neo-classical painters Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain defined the pastoral as a sense of harmony with the natural environment and the garden designers of Stowe, such as ‘Capability’ Brown, also shared this ambition.


Yet when translated into a garden design the pastoral shows our innate desire to control and imprint ourselves on the natural world. This a theme taken up in the work of conceptual artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, whose work shows the garden taking up arms in its eternal battle with nature.


The Garden at War will open on the 8th July with a day-long symposium held at Stowe House by the Courtauld Institute of Art. To book tickets visit

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