Elmer’s Art Parade to join a celebration of colour at Petworth House and Park

This spring, the National Trust’s Petworth House and Park welcomes Elmer the Patchwork Elephant™, on a colourful sculpture trail through the Pleasure Gardens.

From 27 May, visitors can enjoy Elmer’s Art Parade, inspired by one of the world’s most widely read and loved children’s books, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant™ by writer and illustrator David McKee.

In Partnership with Wild in Art and Andersen Press, the iconic character of Elmer, whose stories explore and celebrate friendship and inclusivity, has been recreated in ten large scale sculptures.

Image: National Trust

Each sculpture has been individually designed, inspired by the work of famous artists from across the world including William Morris, Yayoi Kusama, Frida Kahlo, and JMW Turner.

Throughout the summer, this colourful and joyous trail will ‘parade’ through Petworth’s gardens. The original classic, patchwork Elmer designed by David McKee will stand proud in the beautiful eighteenth century stone Rotunda, presenting the perfect photo opportunity for Elmer fans.

Joining the herd will be a JMW Turner-inspired Elmer. Turner was a regular visitor to Petworth, and 19 paintings by the artist are on display in the house. Petworth is known as the ‘house of art’, and has a world class art collection, inspiring artists for generations.

The trail invites visitors to explore the winding paths, ancient trees, and colourful flowers around the gardens. Visitors can pick up a free trail map to discover the ten Elmer sculptures.

Image: National Trust

Elmer’s Art Parade launches on Saturday 27 May, coinciding with Elmer Day. Elmer’s arrival at Petworth will be celebrated with a day of crafts, storytelling and a meet and greet with Elmer himself.

2023 is a celebration of colour at Petworth House and Park, with a programme of colour-themed activities and events throughout the year. Drawing on its famous art collection and celebrating nature’s changing colours in the park and Pleasure Gardens, Petworth will offer new ways to experience this world-famous ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, and create moments of joy, curiosity, and inspiration.

Sarah Taylor, Senior Programming and Partnerships Officer at Petworth House said: “We’re so excited to welcome Elmer’s Art Parade to Petworth. A sculpture trail that celebrates inspiring art and colour while promoting friendship and inclusivity is going to be perfect for Petworth. The trail is a great reason to visit Petworth this summer, with Elmer being known and loved across generations.” 

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Andersen Press and the team at the National Trust to bring Elmer the Patchwork Elephant to Petworth House and Park. Wild in Art passionately champions the importance of art and being creative for everyone and it’s wonderful to see how our artists have been inspired by the work of some of the world’s greatest artists. We hope that everyone will enjoy discovering the Elmer sculptures.”

Elmer’s Art Parade runs from 27 May to 3 September, 10am – 5pm. Normal admission charge only, free to National Trust members.

Petworth House event highlights

Elmer’s Art Parade

Saturday 27 May – Sunday 3 September

Join beloved children’s character Elmer the Patchwork Elephant on a colourful art parade around the Pleasure Garden at Petworth. Explore the gardens and discover ten individually designed Elmer sculptures, inspired by the work of well-known artists from across the world, including Yayoi Kusama, William Morris and Leonardo Da Vinci, along with the original patchwork Elmer by David McKee.

Beginners Natural Dye workshop

Thursday 22 June, 10.30am-4.30pm £90

Explore the breadth and variation of colour that can be extracted from local plants using traditional techniques to dye fabric samples in this beginners one day workshop.

Festival of Colour: Community Day

Sunday 11th June Free Admission

Join us for a free day out at Petworth House and Park for all the family. Enjoy games and activities in the Garden, or explore the Elmer’s Art Parade sculpture trail. Discover the unique history of Petworth in the House and Servants Quarters, with ten minute talks and see the Royal Academy Explorations of Colour Exhibition in our Gallery. Sit back and relax on the lawn with a picnic, or tasty treat from our café, and listen to live music.

Petworth Lates: Summer Solstice

Wednesday 21st June 19.00-22.00 £10

Spend the summer solstice admiring the colours of the sunset while enjoying the Pleasure Garden. Take a stroll around the garden to see the evening sunlight illuminate the Italian styled Ionic Rotunda and absorb the peaceful atmosphere on the woodland walk. Take a seat on one of the garden benches and take in the beauty of nature while listening to the South Downs Folk Singers.

Petworth Lates: House of Art

Friday 7th July and Friday 8th September 18.30-20.30 £15

Experience a magical evening atmosphere of art and culture at the National Trust’s Petworth House during these late openings from 6:30-8:30pm. Explore the rooms with their vast art collection, including works by J.M.W Turner, Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, whose work we are celebrating this year, 300 years after his birth. Enjoy a drink on arrival, the music of a string duo, highlight talks and watch the sunset over Petworth Park.

Elmer's Big Art Parades

Elmer's Big Art Parades