‘Ripple’ by James Tunnard.

‘Ripple’ is a new permanent artwork opening end of June 2024 at Lullingstone Country Park, Kent.

In 2023 artist James Tunnard was commissioned by the Darent Valley Landscape Scheme, part of the Kent Downs National Landscape, to create a new installation inspired by the park, the surrounding countryside and the visionary artist Samuel Palmer who created some of his best work when living in Shoreham. Making use of a 150-year-old 4-metre-long oak tree that had fallen in the grounds, the sculpture created, titled Ripple echoes structures and patterns of movement found in nature in a simplified geometric form.

‘Ripple’ is permanently located in the Orchid Bank wildflower meadow and provides a seating area where visitors can rest and enjoy the surrounding landscape, with views out across the valley and down to the River Darent below.

James saw the commission as an opportunity to invite local poets to visit the Orchid Bank meadow and create new work inspired by the location and Lullingstone’s scenery, wildlife and heritage. The poems created during the project are gathered together in a booklet for visitors to enjoy, and extracts from the poems have been engraved onto the sculpture Ripple.

All the poetry received has been curated into a leaflet. Ripple is an evocative collection of new poetry inspired by Lullingstone Country Park’s landscape and history, curated by the artist James Tunnard to accompany his public sculpture of the same title, located in the park’s Orchard Bank.

The woodlands and open grasslands of Lullingstone Country Park contain plentiful species of plants and native wildflowers that support important wildlife communities, including kingfishers, herons, grass snakes, dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies. The woodlands are home to veteran and ancient trees, some of which are estimated to be over 800 years old.

To protect this unique landscape Lullingstone Country Park has been designated a National Landscape and a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The natural beauty of Lullingstone Country Park and the Darent Valley has inspired creativity since Roman times and is inextricably linked to the nineteenth-century Romantic landscape artist, Samuel Palmer, who lived in Shoreham in the heart of the Darent Valley. Palmer sketched, painted and wrote about the landscape around him, to convey his ideas about the physical and spiritual connection between people and the land. Palmer’s painting Oak Tree and Beech, Lullingstone Country Park (1828) is an example of his attention to the detail and texture of natural forms and shows the trees as ancient even when Palmer painted them.

We invite you to visit the park this summer, and to explore ‘Ripple’. You can pick up our free leaflet of poetry ‘Ripple’ at Lullingstone Country Park Visitor Centre from 21st June 24. Some level of fitness is required to walk up a moderate sized hill to the meadow. If access is an issue, we are soon to be making a 360 degrees film so you can view, and enjoy the sculpture online.

You can find other sculpture by James Tunnard at Surrey, on the The North Downs Way and at The Amelia, Tunbridge Wells.

With thanks to:

Peter Morris, Kent Downs National Landscape

Ali Clarke, Surrey Hills Arts

Caroline Phillips, Karen Phillips & Tim Bell, Kent Country Parks

Graham Mummery & Charlie Bell

James Tunnard

Alex Jordan & Bruce Saunders, Fallen & Felled

Roundel Poetry Group and other Poets who responded to our Call-Out

Shoreham Village School

St Johns CE Primary School, Sevenoaks

Co-financed by the European Union and the European Regional Development Fund