Botanic Garden calls on artists to mark 200th anniversary

Originally published online at The South Wales Guardian and in the newspaper issue 06/05/2015.

THE National Botanic Garden of Wales is launching its own Watercolour Challenge this summer to mark the 200th anniversary that Thomas Hornor was commissioned by Sir William Paxton, of Middleton Hall, Llanarthne, to catalogue the full majesty of “one of the finest water parks in Britain” – the site in which the Botanic Garden now stands.

To mark the occasion, bosses at the Carmarthenshire attraction are issuing their own challenge to artists from far and wide, inviting them to attend the garden and capture the modern beauty that is today’s National Botanic Garden of Wales.

The resulting artworks will feature in an exhibition of the best entries in the garden’s gallery, there will be prizes on offer in each of three categories.

The winner of the under 12s contest will receive £250 and there will be £500 up for grabs for the winner of the 12-18 category.

The winner of the adult’s competition will earn £1,250.

The celebration is set to coincide with the biggest project in the garden’s history; a £6.7 million restoration project which aims to reveal the secrets of the estate of Middleton Hall, restoring the site to its former glory.

Once completed, the garden will once again feature the cascades, falls, and the necklace of seven lakes and weirs, which were originally created more than 200 years ago.

Organiser Rob Thomas said: “The five-year plan to restore our Regency landscape began in January and the main source material for the project is the Hornor watercolour collection. So, it is very fitting – two centuries after Hornor created his brilliant body of work – that we try and capture what we have here today.

“And we’re not restricting entries to watercolours only: oils, pastels and acrylics are equally welcome. This will, in time, prove as compelling a record of the estate as Thomas Hornor created all those years ago.”

The Watercolour Challenge, that runs from the Whitsun bank holiday weekend of Saturday, May 23 through to the garden’s annual Wales Tree Festival on Saturday, August 15, is open to entrants of all ages and abilities, with half price entry for all entrants.

“We will be selecting entries from a range of age categories to be displayed in the garden’s own gallery in the autumn,” Mr Thomas added.

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