Bridget Macdonald: A Deeper Landscape

10 Apr-17 May 2024

Art First
London SE11 4UA


10 April – 17 May

The way landscape is a palimpsest of centuries of history from farming activities to ancient battles, is of great interest to me. Landscape in general also holds our individual memories of places and experiences, and many of the works in this exhibition depict the landscape of the Malvern Hills where I live.  For example, the painting Easter Fire came out of seeing one of Angus’s field bonfires one cold and snowy Easter. So it was an actual thing I saw but also refers to the fires lit on Easter Eve, particularly in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox church.  Similarly Crows in the September Orchard reminded me of the amazing orchard paintings in the Villa Livia in Rome as well as Samuel Palmer’s fruit trees but is also based on things seen in our orchard.  The meanings and associations tend to develop as the works develop.

The old perry pear tree at Storridge is a reminder of the old orchards of Herefordshire, many of which have been grubbed up over the last decades.  We have a young orchard a few miles away planted with old local varieties of apples and pears – a scheme devised by Herefordshire County Council to conserve the heritage of this landscape.  This orchard appears in Crows in the September Orchard and March Pruning with the Japanese Ladder.

 The new painting Gascony Pastoral is a view towards the hilltop town of Lectoure in Gascony.  It is such a classic pastoral vision with the ripening corn and the rolling farmed landscape that I had to paint it.  The red buildings in the middle distance are probably intensive poultry sheds. 

The drawing The Midsummer Mare came out of a chance encounter some years ago with a beautiful grey mare in the country below the Malverns on the evening of the Summer Solstice.  Other drawings include the view to the hills from the orchard and the Severn water meadows where the Battle of Worcester was fought in September 1651.


Born in 1943 on the Isle of Wight, Bridget Macdonald trained in Fine Art from 1983 to 1987. Since then she has built up a career which has been marked by major solo exhibitions in public galleries such as Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Worcester City Art Gallery, Derby Art Gallery, The Rotunda Gallery at Birmingham University, and QuayArts on the Isle of Wight. Her work is held in the permanent collections of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Worcester City Art Gallery and the House of Lords at 1 Millbank. 

In 2016 her exhibition This Green Earth at Worcester City Art Gallery featured her works hung alongside paintings, etchings and drawings by Claude Lorrain, Samuel Palmer and Peter Paul Rubens borrowed from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and Manchester Art Gallery. She has shown regularly at Art First since its inception. 

Selected works