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A return visit to

Champs Hill

home of the
Bowerman Charitable Trust

Monday 7th June 2021

leader of the wolf pack

On Monday 7th June, thirty TASC members drove to Champs Hill, just outside Pulborough, to see a private exhibition of paintings by Dutch Romantic Landscape Artists of the seventeenth century.  Champs Hill is the home of The Bowerman Charitable Trust which was established in 1984.  The Trust seeks to promote classical music and art.  David Bowerman CBE was a successful farmer and businessman with a serious love of classical music, sculpture and painting.  He retired in 1984 and with the help of his wife, Mary, set up the Trust to further develop his interest.  Although David died in 2020, Mary continues to run the Trust and gave us a warm welcome and introduction to the exhibition and the aims of the Bowerman Trust.

paintings in the concert hall

We all carefully followed safe-distancing guidelines and entered the concert hall in groups to view the paintings displayed around the room.  Dutch landscape painting was very popular during the 17th century and families of artists created many oil paintings of landscapes showing ordinary people working and playing in the towns and countryside.  We proceeded in a clockwise direction around the auditorium to see paintings arranged in winter, summer, rural, town and seaside groups.  Although I wasn’t familiar with the individual artists, each painting was accompanied by background information to enhance the experience.

the rain catcher statue
The Rain Catcher

From the exhibition we explored the gardens, spread over 27 acres of woodland and disused quarries.  The sandy soil provides the perfect setting for the many varieties of heathers and rhododendrons around the informal beds.  There are three disused quarries, woodland, formal gardens and many extraordinary sculptures in natural settings.  I particularly enjoyed the sight of a leopard crouching to drink from a waterfall deep in a magical woodland.  This contrasted with the sculpture of a small child clad in wellingtons and duffel coat with her head raised to the sky and mouth wide open entitled The Rain Catcher.  In addition there are beautiful views of the South Downs.

leopard in the forest sculpture
three sculptures of figures

Congratulations must go to Mary Bowerman for continuing the Charitable Trust for over 35 years and creating such a unique setting.  Thanks also to Gwen Wright and TASC for giving us the opportunity to visit.

Text and photos: James Lee

Welcomed with coffee ...

groups at tables

Exploring the gardens

members enjoying the trees and floral planting

Related Link

The Bowerman Charitable Trust, Champs Hill