Rowan Hannay Exhibition at The Buttercup

Detail from Rowan Hannay artwork on show at The Buttercup Cafe in Lewes

We have a new exhibition in the cafe. Rowan Hannay is a Lewes artist who creates evocative mixed media paintings and sketches depicting familiar Brighton streets and Sussex seaside scenes. They are stunning.

Powis Square (pen and ink) by Rowan Hannay

Rowan describes his work: “Whatever the location I am especially interested in texture, colour and layers. Fascinated visually by decaying structures in the landscape and by using a wide range of drawing, painting, spraying and abrasive techniques I create mixed media abstract paintings. Working either on location or at my studio.”

Rowan Hannay shoreline paintings

We hope you like the pictures as much as we do. Come and have an ice cold glass of our sparkling elderflower cordial and check out Rowan’s work for yourself. His exhibition will be on display in our cool, shady downstairs space and upstairs in the cafe kitchen until the end of August. You can find out more about Rowan at

Cool corner downstairs at The Buttercup. Walls adorned with Rowan Hannay artwork.

The Buttercup Cafe in all its glory…

We were so excited when local artist Lyndsey Smith sent us a link to her brilliant blog which featured her latest watercolour painting – and it’s of us!

Buttercup Brunch - A painting by Lyndsey Smith

Lyndsey has created a beautiful painting of our sunny Buttercup yard in all its glory. We love the detail; the fruit & veg boxes in the doorway, the higgeldy piggeldy plants and flower pots. You can see how Lyndsey created the final artwork by looking back at her blog posts over the last month. You can see the painting come to life. We’re delighted, flattered and very impressed.

Buttercup Brunch - First drawing by Lyndsey Smith


Buttercup Brunch - A work in progress by Lyndsey Smith

Do have a look at Lyndsey’s other paintings of shops, people and places around Lewes on her lovely website

Our walls

The Buttercup Cafe’s walls are covered with an ever-changing collection of paintings, photos and artworks created by Lewes artists and makers. Some of whom are our lovely customers, some work here and some just walk through the door with a bundle of canvases under their arm.

Our latest pictures on display in the cafe are by Mark Ellender. They’re bold and bright, eye-catching and odd (in a good way!). We like them, hope you do too…

'Monsters, damsel and icicles' Acrylic on canvas, £250, Mark Ellender

The story of a local artist: Brenda Poppy Cox

Brenda Poppy Cox

Sometimes amazing things happen in Lewes. A couple of months ago a woman stepped through the cafe door, “Do you want some art?” – a great opener to any conversation. It turned out that this surprise visitor had come to clear her mother’s home on South Street, Lewes. She had discovered a mass of her mother’s drawings, paintings and sketches that she simply didn’t have space to keep. She told us that she was on the cusp of throwing the papers away.

Zoe-Anne Wadey told us all about her mother and how she had painted and created all her life while living in Lewes. We were intrigued & moved by her life story; we encouraged Zoe to come back with whatever she couldn’t keep.

Zoe disappeared and returned an hour later wheeling an amazing, heavy old painted stove, tin watering cans and a box of sketches. A magical and utterly charming collection; everything decorated with fairies, elves and gnomes. These were the artworks of her mother, Brenda Poppy Cox.

Brenda Poppy Cox's work in The Buttercup Cafe. Photo taken from

We think most of the painted objects were made by Brenda in the 1960s & 70s; she has a child-like, naive style to her drawing and painting. Many of the pieces look like narrow boat art at first glance.

Brenda Poppy Cox lived on South Street until her death in 2004. She had always written stories and drawn but her daughter told us that Brenda had to turn down offers of formal training and a place at art school to look after her family.

We are delighted to have Brenda’s artwork on display across the cafe in The Buttercup yard at the moment thanks to the kindness of her daughter. Come and have a look at a truly local artist’s work.

Stories & Poems from The Mulberry Tree - published by Arthur H Stockwell Ltd

Brenda’s daughter also had her mother’s stories and drawings published in 2004. They are magical tales, many set around Lewes. There’s an old tree with a fairy door at its roots, a tree full of “funny little men” and it is based on the majestic Mulberry Tree in The Grange Gardens:

“To my surprise the fairies were playing hide-and-seek,
And one by one I found them upon the bark, behind the twigs, in every cranny and creek”

One story tells of a giant’s cave found by the builders of Cuifail tunnel; a cave full of giant cooking pots, chairs and beds. You’ll never look at that dull tunnel in the same way again!

We have a copy of the book (Stories & Poems from The Mulberry Tree by Brenda Poppy Cox) in the cafe. Do come and read one of the magical tales while you have a coffee.

You can see the painted stove we have on display in The Buttercup yard in the background of this photo

Did you know Brenda Poppy Cox? We’d love to know more about her and her work. Please do share with us your stories and memories.

The Buttercup Christmas Cornucopia

You can probably hear us singing at the other end of town, “Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Don we now our gay apparel, Fa la la, la la la, la la la.” What genius lyrics. We’re feeling festive down here at The Buttercup and we’ll be revealing our Christmas Cornucopia to all on Thursday evening.

Handmade cloth baubles

It’s the special Lewes late night Christmas shopping event from 5.30pm till 8.30pm. So wrap up warm and as it gets dark come down to the magical Buttercup yard. We’ll be festooned in fairy lights, there’ll be music, outdoor heaters, blankets and hot water bottles.

It’s an evening of cioccolato treats;  we’ll be serving churros con chocolat, a decadent chocolate fondue, delicious hot chocolate and yummy Nutella pancakes. Oh, and I’m sure we’ll squeeze in a couple of choccie buttons too for the Buttercup babies. There’ll also be a fresh pot of seasonal winter soup on the go in the kitchen.

Ilaria's handmade lime felted scarf

There’ll be a stall of delights and handmade treasures, selling festive treats made by artists and makers who work in and around the The Buttercup yard – Laina Watt, Ilaria Gardelli, Claire Waller, Dani Lola, Simon Keizer, Sue Hartland, Anne Schulte and more.

Dani Lola has produced a series of hand printed Christmas cards, there are baubles & birds, candles & crochet, scarves & capes, charms & prints. It’s a crafted Christmas cornucopia. Kirstie Allsop would be proud of us!

Dani Lola's handcrafted, stiched & printed, christmas cards. From £1.10 each

We will also have seasonal, local fruit and veg for sale. We’ll be taking Christmas orders; we can make up produce hampers to order or bake special cakes for you. We can also deliver fresh Buttercup lunches or delicious party food for you and your family for any festive parties you have planned this month.

Christmas fabric birdies £6.00

Soyawax candles in vintage cup and saucer £6.00

Ilaria's printed stars


As any of our lovely visitors know, we like a bit of crochet here in The Buttercup Cafe. Something about its colourful familiarity just makes you smile. There’s nothing nicer than a crochet blanket over the knees on a cold day with a cup of hot chocolate.

We just came across Shauna Richardson’s amazing work. She’s an artist who creates “Crochetdermy”.  She uses crochet to sculpt realistic life-size animals. We think they’re just brilliant. How can you not smile when you look at these beasts.  We’d like one in the corner of the cafe to keep us company. Some of Shauna Richardson’s work is in the The Power of Making exhibition that’s on at The V&A at the moment. So you can see one in the flesh. Or maybe that should be, see one in the knit???

Stag by Shauna Richardson

Running Hare by Shauna Richardson


This is it!

So this is it. We’ve finally made it from our cosy, vintage-loving, antique filled home into this new fangled online world. And we’re just a bit excited about it all. This space on our Buttercup Cafe site is for all our friends, family and the lovely people of Lewes (and beyond) to share recipes, foodie tales and other creative goings-on.

We want to show you what inspires us here at The Buttercup Cafe – what’s going on in our kitchen and the special events we have planned over the coming months.

Please do pop in to the cafe, tweet or email us if you’d like to write a guest post, share your latest artwork, ideas or general brilliance here on our website.