A Legacy of Ancient Oaks

'Whosoever plants a tree, winks at immortality' - Felix Dennis

At the end of last year Kew’s Library, Art and Archives took delivery of the first of ten very large scale drawings by artist Mark Frith from the estate of the late Felix Dennis. Inspired by the grandeur of Britain's ancient oak trees, many of which are believed to be more than a thousand years old, artist Mark Frith approached the publisher, poet, philanthropist and planter of trees Felix Dennis and proposed a series of drawings of millennial oaks. Equally passionate about these magnificent veterans, Felix Dennis commissioned a twenty drawing series. Frith’s intricate graphite works detail the individual nature of each tree, helping to document the results of a millennium of growth.

These large scale graphite drawings measuring 1.7m wide were part of a 20 drawing commission. The series took the artist three and a half years to complete and was finished just before Felix Dennis’s death in June 2014. Following Felix Dennis's wishes, his estate bequeathed ten of the twenty drawings to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Now, twenty-two of his works are collected here for the first time in A Legacy of Ancient Oaks. Each drawing shows an English oak in its entirety, with exceptional detail conveyed in these intricate graphite works. The ancient features of these trees come to life in these pages. Each oak is shown in full along with detailed close-ups of the drawings. A directory details where to find each tree, so that readers can experience these majestic individuals themselves. You can find out more about this beautiful book.