Wildness Book Launch and Signing

Pollyanna was delighted to welcome Virginia McKenna, founder of the Born Free Foundation to her gallery for a celebration day to officially launch the new book 'Wildness'.

Left: Richard Bonfield, Pollyanna and Virginia McKenna sign copies of Wildness

This beautiful book is a collaboration between Pollyanna, and Richard Bonfield, poet in residence for the Born Free Foundation. The book features over 50 paintings selected by Pollyanna from her archive of work - many of which are reproduced here for the first time - along with new pieces created especially for the book.

Virginia McKenna contributed a thoughtful and moving foreword. Sales of the book will raise funds for both Born Free, and The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation.

Tickets for the event sold out completely, and Pollyanna, Virginia and Richard spent the whole day signing copies of the book in Pollyanna's crowded gallery (below).

They were pleased to chat from visitors who had travelled the length and breadth of the UK - from the south coast to Scotland - to have the opportunity to purchase a book and view a specially staged exhibition of Pollyanna's work.

Thanks to a rare day of sunshine, guests also enjoyed the opportunity to stroll round Pollyanna's newly landscaped 'African' gardens, while enjoying a glass of organic 'Wild Thing' wine - created by Vintage Roots. There was also an opportunity to talk to representatives of Born Free about the wonderful work they carry out. Although the event was very informal, a few presentations were made in the afternoon. Pollyanna was pleased to be able to present Virginia with a cheque for £4203.56 to support the rescue of Kebri, a young orphaned lion. This money will cover the cost of hiring a plane to transport him to the Born Free sanctuary in Ethiopia, along with the veterinary costs incurred during the rescue.

Pollyanna and Virginia also presented Richard with a framed print of one of the paintings featured in the book - with part of the text of his poem 'The Born Free Alphabet' inscribed on the mount. Richard started his affiliation with the Foundation after the charity’s founder, Virginia McKenna OBE, read ‘The Beautiful Alphabet’, his moving poem which recounts the conversation between child and parents about the world’s disappearing animal species.

Virginia describes how the poem ‘struck a deep chord which still resounds’ in her, where the final heart-rending line sums up man’s seemingly inevitable devastation of the planet, as the parents resignedly ‘switched out the light in their daughter’s eyes’. In tribute to the Foundation, Richard adapted the original poem with a more optimistic message in light of their important campaigns to reverse this monstrous destruction.

Dedicated to Born Free and children everywhere, the ‘The Born Free Alphabet’ describes the eradication of zoos, circuses and dolphinariums which ‘We fought for years to close’, in place of the original poem’s disappearing animals. The inspirational poem presents the possibility of bringing back animals’ ‘smiles’ as they shout ‘We are all born free…!’, liberated by the parents’ resistance from their captive incarceration.

ppflogoThe sold-out launch event bodes well for the book’s success which hopes to communicate the critical nature and urgency of the charity’s work whilst celebrating the wonder of the animal kingdom. The preceeding exhibition and launch event were such a success that the first edition of the book has practically sold out. Once the second edition is in print, we will be pleased to offer copies for sale through this web site - please check back for details!


'A book whose words and images conjure up the beauty and fascination and vulnerability of the natural world’.
Virginia McKenna

Pollyanna Presents Virginia McKenna with a cheque for £3200 on behalf of the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation

Thank you to Sainsbury's in Matlock who kindly provided six bottles of taste the Difference Buck's Fizz for visitors to enjoy.

Thank you also to Judith Waterhouse, a close friend of Pollyanna's who created this amazing cake (above) iced with an image of Pollyanna's lion sculpture Good Morning Africa