Category Archives: Burton Agnes 2017

Artist-in-residence at Burton Agnes Hall 2017

Burton Agnes – January 2017

Tuesday 24th January

The walled garden sleeps
I am the only one here
Life will return soon

Yesterday I paid my first proper visit to Burton Agnes Hall to find it shrouded in fog and sparkling with frost – a beautiful combination.

The walled garden in mist

The walled garden

I’ve always been fascinated by walled gardens – entering a secret place separate from the outside world.  It was a strange feeling to be wandering around a place like this entirely on my own and I had the feeling that the garden was sleeping around me, not at all bothered by my presence, just waiting for the longer days for everything to wake up ready for a new year’s growth. It was too cold to linger long in any one place – the frost wasn’t kidding!  –  and I was very glad I’d brought my chic fingerless gloves …

Even these geese looked cold …

Looking on the ground there were already signs on new green growth mixed in with the dead leaves of last year, which are now a rich mix of browns, rusts and purples

and tiny leaves poking up through the cracks in the paving.

Here and there are small splashes of last year’s colours.

Looking up a bit higher there are gorgeous patterns and textures on the walls and tree trunks.

During my visit the mist gradually lifted and I could see bare branches, that would be hidden in summer, making patterns against the sky.

I think the first thing to do is a colour family to give me a palette to work from …


I was feeling in a rut just before Christmas so, on a whim, I wrote to Burton Agnes Hall to ask if I could be a sort of itinerant artist in residence in 2017. The idea was to visit this glorious Elizabethan home once a month during the year and produce a body of work that could lead  to something like limited edition hand-bound books.

The hall is a lovely mellow place that has a real family feel – even the state rooms look as though they were lived in at some point rather than just being a film set – and is surrounded by a gorgeous walled garden, woodlands and part of a Norman manor house.  It’s full of artwork from classical to the current day.

I’m delighted to say they’ve just said yes! Crikey – a mixture of excited and slightly nervous. I thought it would be interesting to document my work here on the blog so, as they say, watch this space …