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Alma Thomas DC Heritage Tour
Item 6 of 15
This is a contributing entry for Alma Thomas DC Heritage Tour and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

The Aquatic Gardens served as another point of interest and inspiration for Alma Thomas. The Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens is a unique and beautiful habitat that features ponds filled with water lilies and lotus, surrounded by tidal marshes. It is a place to experience, celebrate, and connect to nature in Washington, D.C.

"Aquatic Gardens," 1973

Alma Thomas, Aquatic Gardens, 1973.  Painting by Alma Thomas, which consists of small short strokes of navy blue, yellow, and green shades arranged on a dark background peeking through.

Lily Pads at the Aquatic Gardens

Lily pads at the Aquatic Gardens. Visible overcast skyline with trees in background. Foreground features large lily pads, purple flowers on pond.

Thomas painted her famous work "Aquatic Gardens", 1973 based on the prolific lily pads at the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. Many of Thomas's works, including this one, challenge us to experience the different ways light falls on leaves and flowers. Just has her other paintings were inspired by her local surroundings -- the leaves that rustled on the trees outside the front window of her home, the graphic patterns in the flower beds at the National Arboretum, the city's renowned cherry blossoms -- this one represents the natural beauty that can be found in the heart of the city. Thomas's painting makes the canvas an important part of the picture, using the size to convey the vastness of what she is painting: the many sprawling ponds of the Aquatic Gardens filled to the brim with lily pads. In addition, Thomas creates a dreamy atmosphere that encourages the viewer to imagine being there next to her, experiencing the garden in real time.

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens (U.S. National PARK SERVICE). (n.d.). Retrieved April 05, 2021, from

Thomas, A., Berry, I., & Haynes, L. (2016). Alma Thomas. Munich ; London ; New York: DelMonico Books, Prestel.

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