Rena Gardiner - All Her Own Work

A print of Corfe Castle by Rena Gardiner

Our exhibition for 2016 is about the life and work of the artist and printmaker Rena Gardiner (1929-1999).

Whilst not necessarily a household name, Rena Gardiner's work is instantly recognisable. Her guidebooks to historic places, buildings and the countryside have an idiosyncratic style that is unique in post-war British art. 

Rena Gardiner's life

Her principal achievement was some 45 books, all of which she wrote, illustrated and printed herself. No two copies are the same.  Her legacy also includes paintings, pastels and linocut prints.

Rena Gardiner dedicated her life to her art, doing so alone in a thatched cottage in Tarrant Monkton, in the heart of Dorset. 

An unsung heroine of printmaking, uninterested in publicity or fame, she created an artistic legacy that is instantly recognisable for its exuberant use of colour and texture. 

Her legacy

In recent years a new generation of artists and printmakers have discovered her work, helping to spread the word and foster the recognition she merits. 

The exhibition

A huge archive of her work was purchased by the National Trust and is housed at Cotehele.

The exhibition at  Mompesson House includes highlights from the collection including guidebooks to Salisbury, images of Mompesson and other properties in the local area.

You can see Rena Gardiner's work in Mompesson House until 30 October.