Magical water lilies

Ethereal White Persian Pond by Chihuly, Kew Gardens, September 2019

I have already raved about the Chihuly exhibition at Kew Gardens, and more than once. But on a return visit last week, I saw a piece that I had somehow missed on previous visits.

These glorious white glass lilies are floating in the Waterlily House, a Kew glasshouse that is splendid in its own right. It was completed in 1852, designed specifically to showcase the giant Amazon waterlily, and now a listed building.

Chihuly visited Kew a couple of years ago to work on the design of the current exhibition and was inspired by this location to develop this new piece. The shape and size of these white lilies fit perfectly with the natural wonders in this giant pond.

And I can assure you they look much better in reality than on screen or paper.

The exhibition is on until 27 October 2019, free with your entrance ticket for the gardens. For an extra treat, there is also an illuminated show of the pieces every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening until 26 October – booking in advance is highly recommended (£18 adult entry).


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Copyright Debbie Smyth,  16 September 2019

Posted as part of Lens-Artists

25 thoughts on “Magical water lilies

  1. Chihuly’s work is magical, Debbie. I saw his collection in Seattle and his works in the MFA in Boston. I’d love to see this exhibit in Kew Gardens. You’ve really captured the magic of his work.

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  2. We are arriving in London Oct. 23 and I have told my husband that we must get out to see these at Kew before is closes. We saw a documentary on his work and how these amazing glass sculptures are created. I can’t wait to see these in person. Thanks for sharing these photos.

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    1. What good timing! It might be extra busy that week, so I suggest getting there fairly early in the morning if you can. There are 2 free tours a day and really worth doing as she gives some background on Chihuly and the setting up of the exhibition. You get a tour of the main pieces and can then return to your favourites in your own time.
      Enjoy your visit to London and just ask if you want any tips on things to do.

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  3. Wowww. Beautiful beautiful. I’ve seen many Chihuly exhibitions, but not that. Superb. We have a great lily pad pond (The Monet Pond) at the Denver Botanic Gardens, with lots of baby ducks in the summer. Lily pads always remind me of the Burl Ives song:

    There’s a little green frog swimming in the water
    A little green frog, doing what he oughter
    He jumped right off of the lily pad
    That the little duck bit and he said, “I’m glad
    I’m a little green frog swimming in the water
    Glump glug, glump glug, glump glug glug”

    I lived and worked in England for 4 years, jogged Hyde Park countless times, and saw the Queen’s Rose Garden, but I don’t think I ever made it to Kew. Shame on me. Yet another reason to revisit ‘Londinium’, one of the great cities of western civilization.

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    1. Many reasons to visit, so give a shout if you do. I live just outside London but have a pretty easy journey to Kew and try to get there 2 or 3 times a year. More often this year, due to Chihuly. I first discovered him in Florida and have seen a few of his pieces on my travels, but never a huge exhibition like this.

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