Paradise Lost

Join us for a thought-provoking exhibition by acclaimed artist Jan Hendrix, exploring humanity's impact on the natural world.

Pavilion sculpture by Jan Hendrix



Saturday 3 October 2020 –  Sunday 14 March 2021


Shirley Sherwood Gallery


Included with entry to the Gardens

Closed from 16 December until further notice in line with government guidance. 

Explore the beauty and fragility of the natural world and humanity’s impact on it with this stunning exhibition led by world-renowned artist Jan Hendrix.

Jan examines the transformation of landscapes and how we record the natural world in botanical images, using a variety of materials including glass and silver leaf. 

Inspired by lost landscapes

The exhibition is inspired by the landscape of Kamay Botany Bay, Australia, which was once a pristine bay teeming with endemic flora and fauna.

In the wake of colonial industrialisation, contemporary urbanisation and climate change, Paradise Lost explores the fragility and destruction of landscapes like Kamay Botany Bay. 

Kamay Botany Bay 

Kamay Botany Bay acquired its name thanks to the huge number of plants recorded and collected there in 1770 by European botanists Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. 

Specimens from the voyage were pressed within the loose uncut pages of an early 18th century book called Notes upon the twelve books of Paradise Lost published by Joseph Addison.

This voyage set in motion the British colonisation of the Australian continent, removing indigenous populations from their lands and destroying huge swathes of a fragile ecology that had existed for thousands of years. 

Today, almost 250 years later, Kamay Botany Bay is now virtually unrecognisable. Much of the landscape has been replaced with an airport and an oil depot. 

Historical material collected at the time is the starting point from which Jan has created a collection of beautiful and thought-provoking work. 


Through his art, Jan responds to the effect of human intervention on the environment. In a vast monochrome tapestry, he evokes the dynamic texture and beauty of an Australian landscape that no longer exists. 

Experience an immersive mirrored pavilion at the centre of the show, with an intricate metallic form inspired by two plant species named after Banks and Solander, Banksia serrata and Banksia solandri

COVID-19 (coronavirus) notice

Your safety, and that of our staff, is our highest priority. We’ve put some things in place to make sure visiting is safe for everyone. 

Discover more about the exhibition and Jan Hendrix in the new book Jan Hendrix: Paradise Lost for the exclusive Kew price of £15 (RRP £25).

Buy Jan Hendrix: Paradise Lost

© Jan Hendrix Mirror Palace Pavilion III, Banksia serrata and Banksia solandri, 2020, photo: E.J. Schempf