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David Nash draws Kew trees

As part of his on-going residency, David Nash has made a series of beautiful charcoal studies of some of Kew Garden's most distinguished trees.

Photo of a Norway maple and Caucasian lime at Kew
Kew's Norway maple and Caucasian lime in summer - two trees drawn by David Nash

A variety of species

Nash's studies depict the character and form of a spreading maple, conical Caucasian limes, an oval-shaped chestnut-leaved oak, a weeping beech, an ancient sweet-chestnut and an uplifted oak. Some of these sketches are now on display in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.

Drawings of Kew trees by David Nash

Two Caucasian limes by David Nash

(Photo by David Nash)

Caucasian limes and a Norway maple

Nash has drawn a pair of Caucasian limes (Tilia x euchlora) which stand near to the Temperate House, where a major collection of his sculptures are on display. Their conical form is created by foliage which falls all the way down to the ground. Another drawing depicts a round-crowned Norway maple (Acer platanoides) and a Caucasian lime as they stand, side by side.

Chestnut leaved oak by the Orangery

Nash has drawn the chestnut-leaved oak by the Orangery


The chestnut-leaved oak

The chestnut-leaved oak (Quercus castaneifolia) is an extremely rare sight in Britain.

The oldest chestnut-leaved oak at Kew is behind the Waterlily House and was planted in 1846. It is one of the finest known, standing a magnificent 30m tall and 30m across; the biggest and finest specimen of its type in the world.

Drawing of a weeping beech by David Nash

A weeping maple by David Nash

(Photo by David Nash)

A weeping beech

The graceful weeping beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula') on the Broad Walk strives to grow downwards; Nash describes it as spreading far, with curtains of leaves. Where its vast drooping boughs have touched the ground, new ones have sprung up, creating a green den.

Kew's oldest tree: a sweet chestnut

Nash has focused on the trunk of Kew's oldest tree, a sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) which is over 300 years old. Sweet chestnuts produce ridges of bark, often twisting around the trunk. They are one of the most beloved landscape trees, producing golden toothed leaves in the autumn and edible starchy nuts. You can see this magnificent specimen next to the Mediterranean Garden.

Turner's oak

Another trunk that has captured Nash's imagination is that of Kew's Turner's oak. It appears slightly on an angle as it was lifted by the winds in the Great Storm of 1987. This movement did however give the oak a new lease of life; the surrounding soil was decompacted, allowing more air, water and nutrients to get to the roots.

Inspired by Nash's sketches?

Don't forget, a range of of special edition David Nash prints are currently on sale in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art for you to take home and enjoy.

Additionally, check out the David Nash collection in our online store for a range of beautiful products; great as gifts or simply as a treat for yourself!

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