Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kew Palace

This is an illustration I completed recently that had been in production for several months. It is one of the architectural gems in the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London. Kew Palace is actually the earliest surviving building in the gardens, built around 1631 by Samuel Fortrey. Fortrey was a wealthy merchant of Dutch heritage, alluded to in the distinguished gabled roofs and carved brickwork.

The palace was a royal residence between 1728 and 1898 and has been open to the public ever since its release from royal duties - acquired by Kew in 1896. Notable residents include King George III, who reigned between 1760 and 1820 and used the palace as a school house for his children and during his convalescence from illness.

Kew palace underwent a 10 year restoration completed in 2006. This same year it hosted its first royal engagement for 200 years when it was the venue for Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday party.

I love the palace and have been visiting Kew Gardens since I was a child, seeing and enjoying it in all seasons. The gardens are a haven from the hustle and bustle of central London. At Kew the visitor has the chance to escape to the more exotic climes from which many species of plant life originate. As an artist now living overseas and away from my home city, I realise that increasingly I live through my work. The work itself becoming a connector to the places that I love.