RHS Chatsworth: Jo Thompson creates 70m steel sculpture for Brewin Dolphin Garden in her biggest garden design to date

11 May 2017

Garden designer Jo Thompson will install a striking 70m sculpture in the grounds of Chatsworth House later this month as the central feature of the Brewin Dolphin Garden for the first RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.

In what will be Thompson’s biggest design project so far, the sculpture, crafted from 700 steel bars and weighing 3.5 tons, will cantilever dramatically out over the River Derwent where it will hang suspended in mid-air, anchored to the riverbank by two 15m steel joists embedded in the ground. From there, the sculpture will sweep back to the garden and glide through the space in a series of wide curves before finally spiralling into a circular enclosed building.

A sequence of garden areas dotted along the sculpture’s main frame will be connected by wild flower turf following the organic shape of the structure. At one end, majestic field maples and hornbeams, chosen to complement the many ancient and imposing trees in the parkland of Chatsworth, will create a glade of trees surrounded by meadow. At the other, an ornamental garden area will curve around the steel building. A soft pastel planting palette of blues and pinks will contrast with the patina of the steel sculpture.

Jo Thompson said: “Installing a sculpture of this size on a site of such historic and archaeological significance has been incredibly complex but seeing it come together is a real thrill. The Chatsworth estate is extraordinary in scale and offers a totally different perspective to anything I’ve ever done before. Such a magnificent setting deserves a spectacular installation. I think the sculpture and garden will do justice to it.”

The Brewin Dolphin Garden will appear in the new FreeForm category at RHS Chatsworth, intended to encourage a diverse freedom of expression through sculptural design. Celebrating the beauty and elegance of Chatsworth House and the landscape in which it sits, other features, including paving and sculptural seating, will reference the millstones that are found right across the Peak District and which form a vital part of the area’s cultural heritage.

Delicate, pretty planting will create the feeling of an ornamental meadow set against the vibrant green of the landscape. Planting is loose and energetic, to reflect the setting, and the colour palette is created from soft, delicate shades of pink and lavender. Garden areas will be filled with rosa canina, peonies, astrantia, primula japonica and dahlias. Four huge field maples and two hornbeams create a glade of trees, fitting with the surrounding parkland and swathes of wild flower meadow surround the garden.

Rupert Tyler, National Director at Brewin Dolphin said: “Having the opportunity to be involved in the first ever RHS Chatsworth Flower Show and to be working with a designer of such calibre is a huge thrill.  Jo’s garden will be the biggest show garden that Brewin Dolphin has undertaken with the RHS.  After five successful years at RHS Chelsea, the size of RHS Chatsworth has allowed us to push the boundaries and create something stunning as the flagship event in our annual gardening programme. We’re delighted to be able to create something on such a scale in a new regional location. I hope our clients and visitors to the show enjoy the spectacle.”

For further information, please contact:
Suzanne Hind suzanne@suzannehind.com or Theresa Osen theresa@suzannehind.com at Suzanne Hind PR | Marketing Consultants.  Tel: +44 (0) 207 502 8505  or +44 (0) 7931 335930 

Richard Janes - richard.janes@brewin.co.uk Tel. +44 (0) 20 3201 3343
Payal Nair - payal.nair@brewin.co.uk Tel. +44 (0) 20 3201 3342


About Brewin Dolphin
Brewin Dolphin is one of the UK's leading independently-owned providers of discretionary wealth management. With £36.4 billion in funds under management, we offer award-winning personalised wealth management services that meet the varied needs of over 100,000 account holders, including individuals, charities and pension funds.

Brewin Dolphin Gardening offers a unique programme of one-off opportunities to meet some of the UK’s leading garden designers and horticultural experts at events across the country, in exclusive venues ranging from stately homes and castles to flower shows and literary festivals.

2016 was the fifth consecutive year that Brewin Dolphin sponsored a show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  For 2017 they are embarking on a new venture supporting the Royal Horticultural Society at its first ever Flower Show to be held at Chatsworth House.


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About Jo Thompson
Jo Thompson is one of the UK’s leading garden designers.  Named ‘Best Rural Garden Designer’ (2011) and a Society of Garden Designers ‘Future Designer’ (2014), she is also listed by House and Garden magazine as one of the country’s top ten garden designers.
Jo’s garden designs range from tiny rooftop spaces to residential family gardens, public spaces and country estates.   Jo uses her understanding of place to ensure that the landscapes she creates work seamlessly in their location.  Her exquisite planting has led her to be considered one of the UK’s leading plantswomen. Whilst most of her work has been within the UK, she has also designed projects in Russia, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Canada and has represented the UK at the Gardening World Cup in Japan.

Jo has been the recipient of three Gold and five Silver Gilt medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.