Rudi Patterson: Visions of Colour Special Event at the Garden Museum

Rudi Patterson

Rudi Patterson

Rudi Patterson was a bold and talented artist, holding 40 exhibitions all over the world while he was alive. Almost all of his paintings featured landscapes or plants, and his small Notting Hill council flat and balcony were filled with greenery. Rudi’s paintings were heavily influenced by his Jamaican background, and pick out the bold tropical colours plants and landscapes of his formative years.

Tuesday 20 March, 7.00pm-8.30pm
At the Garden Museum 

Join BCA Chair Dawn Hill, Wesley Kerr and Novelette Aldoni-Stewart as they celebrate Rudi’s life and works. The evening talk will explore links between Jamaican garden history and British garden history are centuries old; Captain Bligh, whose tomb is in the Sackler Garden of the Garden Museum, took breadfruit from Tahiti to the botanical garden next to Rudi’s home village.

This evening is a celebration of Rudi’s life and works. Rudi was an early supporter of the Black Cultural Archives, which holds an archive of his works. The money raised from ticket sales will go towards the acquisition of one of Rudi’s paintings for the Garden Museum’s collection.


During the evening there will be an illustrated chat with a panel of those who knew Rudi, discussing his life and the impact of his Jamaican roots on his works.

You will be invited to ask questions after the conversation and to enjoy the paintings for which Rudi became famous, several of which will be at the Museum on the evening.

Drinks will be available in the Garden Café from 6.00pm and the Museum will be open from 6.30pm allowing you to explore the collections.

After the talks the Garden Café will be open, serving a light supper which can be enjoyed in the lush surroundings of the Sackler Garden while listening to some of Rudi’s favourite songs.


Wesley Kerr OBE, Writer, broadcaster and historian
Dawn Hill CBE, Chair of the Black Cultural ArchivesNovelette Aldoni-Stewart, Conservator and cultural activist, Trustee of the Black Cultural Archives

BCA has a special ticket offer for £5.00 (usual price £10.00). Tickets are via the Garden Museum.

The money from your ticket purchase goes towards an acquisition of a painting by Rudi Patterson for the Garden Museum’s collection. If you would like to leave a further voluntary donation on the evening this would be gratefully received.

Wesley Kerr on Rudi Patterson

In London of the  Swinging ’60s Rudi Patterson was a self-propelled star. A few years after arriving penniless from late colonial Jamaica he had established himself as a model, stage and film actor, appearing in early editions of Z Cars, The Professionals, the Rolling Stones’ film Sympathy for the Devil, a Cliff Richard movie, a British Airways commercial, and repertory theatres up and down the country. I first encountered him on stage at the Royal Opera House in Michael Tippett’s The Ice Break.

But at the back of his mind he had always wanted to paint – and, convalescing from a serious neck injury following a water skiing accident – that’s what he began to do. He continued every day for forty years, so successfully that by the time of his death in North Kensington in 2013 he had created thousands of pictures and pots, and clocked up dozens of exhibitions as far afield as Australia, New York and Malta, at multiple galleries in England and of course in Jamaica.

The paintings were almost always landscapes and gardens in the Caribbean even though they were created largely from memory in a series of tiny West London council flats adorned – like the paintings- with vivid flowers and tropical plants.

A Jamaican, even the city dweller or diaspora member, finds his or her story in sonorous landscapes – montane, agricultural, domestic, sometimes peopled. Arcadia meant something different in 18th century Jamaica to what it meant in 18th century Britain but it still meant something. Patterson intuitively combines something European with something African-derived and uniquely Caribbean – all made in the crucible of London.

RudI was someone once met, never forgotten, and if you were lucky a friend for life. He grew up in Duckenfield, a mile or so from the Bath Botanical Garden (established 1779) in the easterly County of Surrey, Jamaica, in the lea of the towering Blue Mountains where it rains suddenly and often. Bath is where Captain  Bligh, buried at the Garden Museum, took breadfruit from the South Pacific in 1793. Descendants of these plants became a staple free food throughout the island and still grow at the gardens, where they are celebrated with an annual festival.

Head to the Garden Museum to experience his lively work for yourself and for an evening of prodigious cultural connections which will lead to the purchase by the Museum of Rudi Patterson’s painting Arcadia, and for the chance to see (and perhaps acquire for yourself) one of Rudi’s creations