The inaugural outing of the ISBA was a visit to Burtown House in May 2013, where we were privileged and delighted to meet Wendy Walsh, and were welcomed to Burtown by Wendy’s daughter Lesley Fennell. A group of ISBA artists returned to Burtown House on 13 May 2017 where Lesley made them very welcome and a tour of the garden and studios was enhanced by lunch in the newly opened Green Barn. Here, ISBA member and the Society’s Hon. Secretary Elaine Moore Mackey gives a brief overview of the lovely visit.
A small group of members were lucky enough to visit Burtown on Saturday 13 May and, while the weather wasn’t great, we made the most of the beautiful setting in which we could admire and learn about the work of Wendy Walsh, who lived at Burtown for the last years of her life.
Lesley Fennell, Wendy’s daughter and an artist herself, took time to show us the gardens–which she manages with enormous talent and committment–as well as Wendy’s paintings which are exhibited in the Gallery at the Green Barn.
Lesley’s generosity and intimate knowledge of Burtown, her home for many years, allowed our group to experience this lovely place on an intimate level. Lesley knows every plant, every corner of the garden, and her enthusiasm for plants and of course, for painting, is infectious.
We were so grateful to her for making us welcome, and to see Wendy’s work up close was a real privilege. The unexpected gift of the visit was to understand and appreciate the long association of Burtown with painting. Lesley’s own studio, formerly that of her mother, is a living workplace and she extended a genuine invitation to our members to paint in the gardens.
I was personally touched by Lesley’s sensitive portraits of Wendy and her own work which celebrates Burtown, her passion for plants, and her home.
The carrot cake was also decidedly memorable!
To read about our first visit to Burtown in 2013, see this post: Wendy Walsh.
A strictly limited edition of 30 prints of each Aibítir painting has been produced to the highest archival quality by Dominic Turner of Exhibit A Studios, Dublin, twenty of which are available for purchase by the public. Click here for more information.
The Aibítir catalogue is a 96-page book, produced to the highest print standards, and features not only all 59 paintings in the exhibition, but also: articles on Irish botanical art from an historical perspective; the native Irish plant species painted by the artists; and the history of the Aibítir project itself.
The Aibítir project is international in its scope, with artists from Canada, the United States, Scotland, Wales and England taking part. L to R: Canadian visitor Ralph Best, ISBA Vice-chairperson Marie Stamp (also Canadian), former Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Michael Phillips, his wife Oonagh, and Canadian botanical artist and Aibítir participant Margaret Walsh Best.
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