Chichester Cathedral's Festival of Flowers Throughout the Years

23rd May 2022
News category

As we approach 2022's Festival of Flowers, we reflect on the bi-annual event which began in 1996. Read on to find out more about each year's theme, Festival Designer and photos of the arrangements.

This year's Festival of Flowers takes place on 8th-11th June and tickets are on sale here>>

1996 | Darkness Into Light

The theme 'Darkness Into Light' was selected by then Dean of Chichester, the Very Reverend John Treadgold, who suggested 'Darkness into Light'.

1996's Festival Designer was The Honourable Lady Fiona Barttelot, who recognised that a theme bringing the flower arrangements together, was key to creating a festive event..

St John the Baptist Chapel, 1996

1998 | Sussex Gardens

The theme 'Sussex Gardens' used beautiful English flowers, overflowing the Cathedral. 1998's Festival Designer was John Brookes, who was most famously associated with Denmans garden at Fontwell, with Verity Gunnery.

North Transept, 1998

2000 | Tidings of Great Joy

The theme 'Tidings of Great Joy' brought a tropical theme to the Festival with sweet-smelling arrangements, all enhanced by two guardian angel (created by sculptor Philip Jackson) which were placed on the Arundel Screen; both played trumpets and were joyous; the mood they were trying to create. In 2000 they also introduced the concept of individual gardens, each telling its own story.

2000's Festival Designers were once again John Brookes and Verity Gunnery, combining their talents to wide acclaim.

North Transept, 2000

2002 | All Glory, Laud and Honour

The theme 'All Glory, Laud and Honour' was brought for a cause for celebration, the fiftieth anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne. This inspired the flower arrangers to produce magnificent arrangements. In particular, the Nave contained huge urns of rainbow- colored flowers, whilst displays in blues and whites cascaded from the roof and Triforium representing skies and clouds - the heavens.

2002's Festival Designer was Tessa Pascoe, who designed the theme in homage to God, the Cathedral and the Queen.

Shrine of St Richard, 2002

2004 | Sussex and the Psalms 

The theme 'Sussex and the Psalms' was a celebration of the English countryside: the blue sky and sea of Sussex was represented in the Nave. Towards the Arundel Screen, blue turned to white, depicting the purity and peace of God. Beyond was the yellow sunshine of the Quire, with harps and music found in the Psalms. The chapels depicted the four elements, earth, water, fire and wind, whilst around the Cathedral in every corner were displays portraying different parts of Sussex life and the seasons of the year.

2004's Festival Designer was Lyn Robinson, who wanted to express the beautiful and varied rural surroundings of the county. Lyn began as a Steward at the very first Festival of Flowers, and also returned as Flower Designer in 2010.

The Font, 2004

2006 | Let All The World In Every Corner Sing

The theme 'Let All The World in Every Corner Sing' was inspired by the worship in Chichester Cathedral and its great tradition of music. The arrangers were asked to interpret a variety of musical titles to create their themes.

2006's Festival Designer was Georgie Macqueen, who wanted to combine the beauty of flowers, with music, and colour in a place of prayer and serenity.

Flower arrangements in the Nave, 2006

2008 | Celebration and Remembrance

The theme 'Celebration and Remembrance' coincided with important anniversaries in 2008; the 'Celebration' marked the nine hundred years since the consecration of the Cathedral; the 'Remembrance' recalled the life and work of Bishop George Bell in the year of the fiftieth anniversary of his death.

2008's Festival Designer Hilary Tupper linked these together, giving huge scope to explore.

North West Tower, 2008

2010 | Poetry in Paradise

The theme 'Poetry in Paradise' diversified the arrangements into tropical varieties, giving an impact of a garden in paradise. Many memorable poems were depicted and 'Travel' by Robert Louis Stevenson inspired seven different arrangements.

2010's Festival Designer Lyn Robinson researched sixty poems which the arrangers interpreted with flowers, plants and trees.

Chagall Window, 2010

2012 | Every Book Tells a Story

The theme 'Every Book Tells a Story' was a chance to tap into a vital component of our collective cultural consciousness. Taking place in a special year with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the arrival of the Olympics in London for the first time in 64 years, celebrations sparked.

2012's Festival Designer was Diana Cave, who felt that with this country's wonderful history of literature, it would fit very well.

North Transept, 2012

Photo: JDA Media, 2012

2014 | The Music Makers

The theme 'The Music Makers' told the stories associated with 73 different pieces of music from the 12th to 21st century; the earliest piece being Sanctus Spiritus written by St Hildegarde of Bingen and the most modern piece, The Sweeper of Dreams by 8-year-old Alma Deutscher in 2012.

2014's Festival Designer was Jose Morum-Pound, and TV Celebrity Gardener Charlie Dimmock of Ground Force was the Festival Patron.

Nave, 2014

Photo: JDA Media, 2014

2016 | The Artist’s Palette

The theme ‘The Artist’s Palette’, featured fine art from the Cathedral collection together with local Sussex art work and classic masterpieces.

2016's Festival Designer was Christine Evans, and continuing the artistic theme, Mr Tim Wonnacott, Television Presenter and Fine Arts expert, was the Festival Patron.

Banksy inspired, 2016

Photo: JDA Media, 2016

2018 | This Earthly Paradise

The theme 'This Earthly Paradise' incorporated plant hunting, botany, horticulture and conservation, and celebrated plants from across the globe, looking at how they have shaped continents and continue to inspire today's gardeners and explorers. Renowned for innovation, this year's Festival showcased several 'firsts', including a new - never seen before - tea rose, 'Nostalgia', which was specially designed and grown for this year's event.

2018's Festival Designer was Jose Morum-Pound and Emma Bridgewater, the British designer and businesswoman, was the Festival Patron.

Flower arrangements in the Nave

Photo: John Holden, 2018

23rd May 2022
News category