This is the story of a bizarre idea: that of recreating an English garden inside Vicenza’s historic palace.

Isabella Rizzato, translator, event planner and English literature expert, is the heart and soul of The Art Journey, a cultural association in Vicenza that offers literary tours, workshops and art holidays with international artists.

I believed great things would emerge right from the first time we met. It was simple to combine watercolours – a technique of which the association is particularly fond – with the English garden, while keeping Isabella’s literary specifications in mind.
Virginia Woolf gave us the perfect framework for this blend.

Together, we designed a watercolour workshop dedicated to Monk’s House which was, for many years, the abode of Woolf and her husband, who created a magnificent garden on the grounds.

Many elements helped us to carry out our idea.

The book “Virginia Woolf’s Garden” offered tremendous technical and iconographic support. Its author Caroline Zoob, embroiderer and ceramic painter who has lived in and looked after Monk’s House for the last 10 years, even sent us a congratulatory message at the beginning of the workshop! I am infinitely grateful to her.

We chose fresh flowers, such as dahlias, dog-rose hips, hydrangeas, wild apple tree branches, English roses, shoots from vines and asters, gathered in bouquets to evoke the borders Leonard Woolf designed – elegantly wild.

For two jam-packed days, workshop attendees crossed the Piazza dei Signori armed with brushes and watercolours to open a door and arrive in a relaxed garden at the foot of the Downs.

Have you ever felt privileged and grateful for the people you’ve met and the places you’ve had the chance to visit?

I have – and often. What is arguably more exceptional about the matter is that so many of these instances have been a result of my work.

There are so many nuances to my craft, which can lead to very different things. Essentially, though, I do two things: I paint and I teach others to paint.

Through both of these, I have come to know people, places, scenarios and situations that vary greatly and are often distant from one another. There’s a strong and lasting connection between the Palladian Basilica and Sussex.

4 October 2018

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