Remembering the remarkable and brilliant Jamie Reid, 1947 – 2023.

  • 11th Aug 2023

It is with great sadness that we reflect on the passing of artist Jamie Reid. His gallerist John Marchant confirmed his death alongside Reid’s family. In a statement he was described as an “artist, iconoclast, anarchist, punk, hippie, rebel and romantic. Jamie leaves behind a beloved daughter Rowan, a granddaughter Rose, and an enormous legacy.”

It’s been a privilege to host Jamie’s last creative collaboration in our Valentine’s Field. Jamie’s iconic Ova symbol has featured in his art for over four decades. Marchant explains: ‘It’s a circle for compassion, an A for Anarchy and a V for Victory’. The glyph also reflects the druidic symbol of the 8-fold year, which represents rebirth, growth and healing.

This is the second year of a collaboration between Jamie Reid and The Lost Gardens of Heligan. In the first year our team sowed wildflower seeds, providing a haven for pollinators across the 12 acre site.. This year the Ova symbol in Valentine’s is to be found surrounded by Emmer wheat and wildflowers. Emmer wheat is an ancient grain which has provided us with sustenance for over 27,000 years. Emmer wheat is naturally very resilient, requiring no chemical inputs, unlike many modern varieties.  

Growing the Emmer wheat with wildflowers will decrease the yield of grain but our purpose is to demonstrate a balance between growing food for ourselves, as well as for pollinators and other wildlife. At the Lost Gardens of Heligan we feel it is important to work with nature, not against it. We look to emulate the work of our previous head gardeners, using knowledge of past heritage varieties and methods to innovate food production in the future.

"It’s been an immense privilege to work with the artist Jamie Reid. The Ova represents a shared and ancient bond with the earth, with nature and the seasons. Walking the paths that it forms through the wheat and flowers, the OVA conjures up both the passing of time and the timelessness of our relationship with the natural world. As Jamie would say “Time for Magic”. This final collaboration looks beautiful and feels producing food for nature and communities alike. We will miss you Jamie."

Alasdair Moore, Head of Gardens and Estate

Visitors to Heligan can explore the Ova in Valentine’s Field until harvest later on this year.



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