The new Stables Cafe at Blenheim Palace

When Blenheim Palace was designing its new Stable’s Café it approached local art gallery Zuleika about the cafe’s extensive gallery space which aims to support local artists.

Zuleika suggested the work of four local artists to complement the new cafe and its beautiful interior design scheme of natural and dark green coloured walls, lounge chairs and plants hanging from the ceiling.

Peter Care, Rachel Gracey, Rosannagh Scarlet Esson and Rod Craig

The result is ‘Expressions of Nature,’ all for sale through Zuleika Gallery, which means that not only can you stop for tea, sandwiches and cake, but also admire the work of Rachel Gracey, Rod Craig, Rosannagh Scarlet Esson, and Peter Care, whose work is all inspired by landscapes and the natural environment.

So why did Zuleika pick these four? “When selecting the Oxfordshire artists for the inaugural exhibition, I wanted to consider the theme of the gardens, nature and outdoor spaces to compliment the space, and also consider a theme that celebrates nature as we eased out of lockdown and the palace re-opened to visitors,’ Zuleika’s Hannah Payne said.

“This resulting exhibition celebrates the boundless inspiration of nature and the importance of connecting to the natural world and our outdoor spaces in these extraordinary times of lockdown following the global Covid pandemic,” Hannah adds.

Additionally, the palace has asked Zuleika to present further art exhibitions in the newly refurbished temporary exhibition space inside the palace, working closely with the palace team starting with Cecil Beaton and the Theatre from 12 June to coincide with the Cecil Beaton photography exhibition.

Rosannagh Scarlet Esson

Located in the Stables Café in the West Courtyard, the Stable Café serves a range fresh food, including open sandwiches, salads, soups and delicious tarts and quiches, the little ones have not been forgotten with yummy pasta and toasties on offer. There is also a range of sweet treats including scones, cakes, brownies and even Churchill’s favourite fruit cake.

Rachel Gracey

As for the artists, Oxford-based Rachel Gracey (READ ABOUT HER HERE: is a contemporary printmaker whose work is in collections at the British Museum, The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, the Ashmolean Oxford, Guanlan Printmaking Museum and the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen.

Peter Care

Woodstock-based artist, Rod Craig switched to being a full-time artist in 2010 after a long career in design. Motivated by the contrast between city life and the Oxfordshire countryside, Rod has made many studies of the Blenheim Parklands.

Rod Craig

Based at her studio in Charlbury, Oxfordshire, Rosannagh Scarlett Esson (READ ABOUT HERE HERE: explores the alchemy of painting elements such as fire, rain, ice, time or gravity through abstract colour and exposure to elemental forces. Since graduating from Oxford Brookes in 2016 with First Class Honours in Fine Art she was awarded the Fine Art Dissertation Prize and is now making a real name for herself.

The four Oxfordshire artists with their work

Oxfordshire based Peter Care explores the internal narrative between the artist and his practice. A love of nature informs his work, but he resists literal representation. The subject in this sense is hidden until it is revealed to the maker.

‘Expressions of Nature’ Exhibition – 17th May – 12th September 2021Tickets required Palace, Park & Gardens, Park & Gardens or an Annual Pass. Find out more at

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