The Darent Valley has been a site of inspiration for many artists throughout history. The most notable is  Samuel Palmer, a visionary landscape artist who lived in the valley in the 19th century. He first came to Shoreham when he was just 19 years old and it was the surrounding landscape of the Darent Valley that inspired him to create his best work. Referring to the valley as ‘an earthly paradise’, Palmer painted rural scenes of local churches, rolling chalk hills and the cornfields at night lit by the crescent moon during his time in Shoreham.

Dartford Marshes has strong cultural associations with maritime painting. In the 17th century the landscape of the southern shore of the Thames formed the setting for the work of artists such as Isaac Sailmaker and William van de Velde, younger and elder. Later there was also an association with painters such as Alexander Maitland, Charles Dean and William Wyllie and in more recent years with the work of the Wapping Group of painters.

More recently the connection has been made between art and the natural world in the practice of Studio Weave who were commissioned by Artlands in 2012 to create The Ecology of Colour at Ecology Island in Central Park, Dartford.

Many independent artists, writers and musicians live and work in the villages of the Darent Valley and there are many active local art-related groups that form part of our partnership.

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