Garden blogs

Featured Artists – Regency Restoration: Responses


Carmarthen Artists’ Network

I have just received descriptions, produced by the members of the Carmarthen Artists’ Network, of the work they will be including in their exhibition “Regency Restoration : Responses” on display from 21st July to 18th September at the Garden. Their exhibition is of artworks produced in response to their experience of the Garden’s landscape through their involvement as volunteers in our historic parkland restoration project “Middleton: Paradise Regained”.

Here is a sneak preview of how the artists describe themselves and their work:-


Vivienne Albiston (Ceramicist)

A potter fascinated with clay and its ability to cross boundaries both literal and metaphorical in the same moment. Often in at least two places at once, inner, outer, real and imagined, present and past.

The Regency Period, dominated by classicism and the use of nature as a source for designs. In some cases nature inspired the whole form of the object, as well as the design and colour.  These new porcelain works  reflect my thoughts and responses to this era and it`s link to the gardens.


David Brown (Mixed Media/Printmaker)

My artwork is usually influenced by personal responses to current concerns and distressing incidents as portrayed in the media. In this instance, however, with my work relating to an earlier period I have produced items that contradict the cosy and romantic era of Jane Austin novels. The vitrines illustrate and emphasise the fact that bribery, brutality and corruption did exist in the fanciful Regency period.


Grainne Connolly (Photographer)

This work is a blurring of the past, present and future of The Gardens. Photographing the garden at present, I search out evidence of it’s past. Unearthed remnants of its Regency Beauty, are laid bare in the sometimes uncomfortable transformation that the old gardens find themselves in. Nevertheless, there are beautiful flashes of what will come. The work includes Botanical drawings by Georg Dionysius Ehret & Johann Weinmann, dating from the same era as the Regency Gardens. They serve as a romantic nod to what was a phenomenal time in Botany, and a reminder of how important the National Botanical Garden is today.


Carole Fletcher

The magnificent veteran oaks, (Quercus Robur), symbols of endurance and longevity, offer a tangible connection with Middleton Estate and all those who lived, worked or visited there throughout its history.  Providing both inspiration and a physical material source, I used fallen oak wood, leaves and oak galls to extract botanical dyes, creating an ‘essence of woodland’, which I used to colour silks, cottons and linens.  These precious fragments became leaves, forming a multi layered textile woodland floor, representing the turning of the seasons, at this moment of restoration and rebirth.


Helen Gillam (Painter)

My work is concerned with the foible’s’ of human psychology.

Here the work is about ‘Nostalgia’, a longing for a return of the past.

Our present in ‘the now’ is sandwiched between nostalgia for the past and anxiety about the future. Both nostalgia and anxiety rob us of the joy of being in the present.


David Gunther  (Sculptor)           

I create sculptures and installations by contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, I try to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, involving the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical, believing in the idea of form and movement in my work.

In this exhibition The Woodsman reflects the physical work undertaken to mould the landscape of Middleton Hall. ‘Ash’, ‘Oak’ and ‘Larch’ are an acknowledgement to all the trees that were felled to make way for the landscape restoration.


Rahmat Haverkamp (Designer/Maker)

Part of being a Designer-Maker is working with a large variety of materials, techniques and skills but high on my ‘Favourite Things’ list you will find, without a doubt, wood and furniture design. In my Wooden Pearls collection I incorporated branches from trees that were felled during the early days of the ambitious Regency Restoration Project. Further inspiration came from depictions of the necklace of lakes as they once were and the colour scheme used by Hornor.


Geoff Hockley (Sculptor)

The “Regency Restoration Project” inspires my work. The Regency was a period of significant change. Plant hunters introduced unfamiliar plant forms, thereby influencing garden design. The industrial revolution and empire building were underway. The status of returning nabobs from the “East India Company” was ambiguous

History and science enable a deeper perception, enhancing my sense of wonder. My work attempts to express this through seed and pollen forms, reed and grass patterns and crystalline shapes. My methods include the utilisation of tactile forms, cast solids, mirrored surfaces, wire structures and the management of light and shadow.


Julie Hutton (Ceramicist)

The Mechanics of Water.

I am a Laugharne based ceramic artist.  I graduated in 2017 with a first class degree from Carmarthen School of art.  My work was selected for Graduate shows around the UK.

My work for the Regency Project, a simple ceramic droplet, focuses on Paxton’s fascination with water and his belief in its multiple health giving benefits.  His achievements range from the creation of indoor ‘water closets’, lakes, dams and waterfalls, to the recreation of Tenby as Spa town.


Victoria Malcolm (Fine Art Painter).

The artist Thomas Hornor was commissioned by William Paxton to paint a series of watercolour drawings showing 14 picturesque views of the Middleton estate landscaped gardens; of these, most have survived but several are missing although  fortunately we know the positions of these ‘stations’ and the perspectives they presented.

I thought it would be interesting to replace the ‘missing stations’ with my own contemporary drawings as the vistas are recovered, offering a fresh interpretation of how we might see the picturesque today in the era of the fleeting image, a momentary experience, remembered.


Johanne Moss (Textiles/Printmaker)

I am an enthusiastic printmaker and textile designer. My quirky surface pattern designs are a result of developing unique lino-prints into digital repeat patterns used for interior textile meterage and wallpaper, to bring sheer delight into any home.

After graduating last year from Carmarthen School of Art with an Honours in Design Studies, I joined Carmarthen Artists Network who are currently involved in a Regency Project for the National Botanical Gardens. Inspired from having resident toads in my garden provided a sense of humour, one of my key elements I feel necessary for a quirky aesthetic appeal.


Tanya Rotherfield  (Fine Artist/printmaker)

Through my drawings and prints the viewer is invited to glimpse the way I see the world highlighting it’s minutiae and idiosyncrasies.

By experimentation I develop marks and lines that give the feeling of the object or concept I’m studying.  The images undergo a metamorphosis as I explore the different elements of the subject through drawing and mark making using pencils, pens and printmaking.

The Hermitage series takes its inspiration from the rumour that during the Regency period a hermit was resident in the North quarter of the gardens near the waterfall.  I have since been exploring the idea of solitary spaces that inspire creativity and the people and creatures that occupy them.


Sian Swann (Paperwork artist)

I create collage and cut paper work, often finding inspiration in Persian miniatures and botanical illustration.

William Paxton returned to Britain with considerable wealth and a young daughter (possibly Anglo-Indian) after several years running the Calcutta Mint. This money paid for the creation of the original Regency gardens and house.

My memory boxes combine Horner’s Middleton Hall paintings with my imagined reminiscences of Paxton’s Indian life, when ‘in vacant or in pensive mood, they flash[ed] upon that inward eye’ (Wordsworth) whilst he went wandering through his wet Carmarthenshire parkland.


David Wise ((Mixed Media)

I graduated from West Wales School of the arts in 2009. I work in various media, including stitch, painting and sculpture. I see my practice as a process of generating visual metaphors for lived human experience. In this case, I have used the medium of hand stitching to create a hand-embroidered piece, using common visual language to speculate on the psychological processes that went hand in hand with Regency life and with empire. In these pieces, contemporary visual tropes are used to speak about phenomena that have long fallen into disuse, such as the use of camouflage fabric to refer to militarism and national chauvinism.

I also write an arts blog at