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From The Margins

Rachel Hudson to premiere new exhibition at Gilbert White’s House

Four Marks based natural history illustrator Rachel Hudson will be premiering her exhibition ‘From the Margins’ at Gilbert White’s House between the 21st June and the 14th August when it will move onto Chawton House in Autumn.

From barn owls and brown hares, to harvest mice and hairstreak butterflies, From the Margins takes you on a journey of discovery to meet iconic farmland species, here in the South Downs. It is a collaboration between, Rachel Hudson and the Selborne Landscape Partnership in Hampshire. It is an exhibition that champions species we are in danger of losing and how the restoration of field margins, from hedgerows to wildflower strips, is making a positive difference. It is also a call to action to support local farmers who are supporting wildlife.

The exhibition is in two parts The Selborne Bestiary, a wall display of nine illustrated portraits of species that the Partnership is supporting through conservation. It is a visual metaphor for declining species in isolated habitat fragments and the importance of a joined-up ‘mosaic approach’ in conservation that aims to create an interconnected, functioning landscape for wildlife, alongside agriculture. What happens in between the squares of ‘The Selborne Bestiary’ and how these species can thrive in the contemporary farmed landscape, is explored in Margins. Three two-metre high vertical ‘Margins’ – Hedge, Edge, Strip – show what life can look like when these habitats are planted, managed and reconnected by farmers and volunteers across the landscape. Each margin reveals the energy and struggles of spring, summer, and autumn, from the viewpoints of the animals themselves.

The artist Rachel Hudson is an illustrator based in Four Marks, Hampshire. She is known for her lively and authentic natural history illustrations for information, greetings cards, publishing, packaging and editorial. Clients include BBC Wildlife Magazine, Bloomsbury Publishing, Butterfly Conservation, the National Trust and The Wildlife Trusts. Her first children’s non-fiction book, 100 Endangered Species, was published in 2021.

The Selborne Landscape Partnership (SLP) is a cluster of 27 farmers and conservationists restoring nature across the countryside that was home to Gilbert White, the pioneering naturalist. Over the past seven years SLP members have been improving habitats to establish wildlife corridors on a bigger, more joined-up landscape scale. By understanding the needs of key target species, a mosaic of nature-rich areas has been enhanced and created to provide year-round food and homes for wildlife. Butterflies, bees, birds, mammals, and amphibians are all cared for using a variety of conservation methods including hedgerow management with flower and seed-rich margins. Alongside this work, much like Gilbert White, our team of 35 active, local volunteers have been observing and recording the wildlife to prove that this collaborative landscape-scale conservation works.

The exhibition will be free with admission and will be open in accordance with Gilbert White’s House’s opening hours. A range of cards from the From the Margins exhibition will be available from the Gilbert White’s House & Garden’s shop.