Friday, June 28, 2019

Chihuly at Kew

Yesterday, Dave and I went to see Dale Chihuly's blown glass artworks on exhibit at Kew Gardens. The pieces are set out among the plantings on the grounds and in the greenhouses, like gigantic thistles and lilies. This one, called "Sapphire Star," is the first piece inside the main gate.

At the gardens' art gallery, more of Chihuly's smaller blown glass is on display, like these "macchia." (They're not that small -- maybe a couple of feet across?) We also picked up a map here, showing us where the rest of the pieces were located.

These are called "Niijima Floats."

And this, inside the Temperate House, is "Persian Column," created especially for this space. Wonder how much that thing weighs?

This isn't the first time I've seen Chihuly's work in an outdoor setting. Long ago, soon after I first started my blog, I went to see Chihuly's show at the New York Botanical Garden. Many of the pieces we saw yesterday seemed similar to some I saw in New York, but I guess they must not be the same ones, because these were created more recently (according to the dates on the exhibit signs).

This is "Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower." Everyone was taking pictures, like the woman in the background using her iPad. As I said in that old blog post, Chihuly's shows provide "lots of fodder for photographers!"

This is "Ethereal White Persian Pond," echoing the water lilies in the lily house.

And this is the top of "Summer Sun," outside the Palm House. (An homage to my earlier photo of a similar sculpture in New York!)

We had fantastic weather for our outing, and enjoyed lunch at a nearby cafe before walking around the show. Unfortunately Olga couldn't come, because Kew doesn't allow dogs. But she wasn't entirely abandoned -- she got some exercise with her regular dog walker on the Heath.


  1. I once attended a benefit in Seattle at a place called Chihuly house or something. Even the indoor pool had sculptures on the bottom! I think they're fantastic but tiresome, too. Your photos, though, are really great. I love the one of the Niijiima floats.

  2. Lucky you! I would love to see that exhibition. I have seen Chihuly's work some 30 years ago on an exhibition in Finland. The enormous gallery was (is) situated underground, in rock caves. That surrounding was a fantastic frame for his pieces.

  3. Where to start? I would so love to see these in real life. We have been to Kew in the past but its not feasible any more, lucky you.
    I think that "Ethereal White Persian Pond" is my favourite with "Sapphire Star" coming in second.

  4. Well, I had never heard of Chihuly. His real name is Dale Patrick Chihuly and he was born in Washington State in 1941. He wears an eyepatch like a pirate having lost the sight in his left eye in a car crash in England in 1976. Perhaps ironically, he went through the glass windscreen. More importantly his art work is quite magnificent. Thanks for sharing.

  5. A long time ago, Glen and I stayed at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and the lobby there is filled with Chihuly's flowers floating overhead. It was too much to take in which is appropriate for Las Vegas, don't you think?

    I LOVE the "Ethereal White Persian Pond." Stunning.

  6. Such beautiful artwork. I am so glad that you and Dave went to see this and took such great photos. Love this!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing. Seeing his work in an outdoor setting such as this is on my bucket list.

  8. I have long admired his work, I wonder how his pieces can be shipped as there sure are many in this exhibit what a lovely location especially in sunlight. Have a lovely weekend.

  9. I recognize many of these pieces from the last time they were at the Desert Botanical Garden. The Sapphire Star was here as was the very tall yellow and red tower and the summer sun. I love his work especially when it's displayed in a garden setting. Last year I went to Seattle just to see his museum up there. It was the ultimate Chihuly experience. Wish I was there to see this exhibit.

  10. I, too, once saw Chihuly's sculptures at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. And then when we visited friends in Seattle some years back we went to his museum and workshop. Fabulous stuff.

  11. Spectacular. The glasswork and the setting.

  12. We saw Chihuly two summers ago when his work was at the New York Botanical Gardens. We went at dusk, so we could see the works lit from within after night fell. It was completely magical. I remember it so keenly because the next day my husband came home from work early with intense back pain and couldn't move for a month after that, and long story short it ended in open heart surgery. He's fine now, but I always remember Chihuly's light filled swirls as the charmed moment before everything spun out of control.