Burtown is currently home to 4 generations of the Fennell family. With 2 artists studios, a permanent Wendy Walsh exhibition, a shop featuring family paintings & prints, photographs, jewellery and many of the 30 books that have been produced by James Fennell and Wendy Walsh, as well as art and sculpture by local designers and artists, Burtown Gardens has much to offer.Burtown Gardens are open to visitors for much of the year - and the house and gardens by appointment.
Visitors to Burtown House may visit two artists’ studios; Wendy Walsh, Ireland’s foremost botanical artist, has produced 15 books on Ireland’s flora and fauna, and her daughter Lesley Fennell is a still life and portrait painter who takes much of her inspiration from the gardens she has developed and created over the last 40 years. Her son, James Fennell, who has produced over 16 books on Ireland’s architectural heritage, art and people, also has a photography studio within the gardens.
As well as being a mother of 3 and a talented cook, James’ wife, Joanna (photographed opposite), is also a jewellery designer and her handmade jewellery is available to buy at the shop. There is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the life of Wendy Walsh containing many of her original paintings.
Burtown is an early Georgian Villa built for the Quaker Robert Power in 1710 and passed down the female line through a number of families to Fennell family.
Read more about the history of Burtown House, the estate and the Fennell family here »
The late Wendy Walsh was one of Ireland’s foremost botanical artists. She illustrated many acclaimed botanical books and designed a series of ‘flora and fauna’ postage stamps for An Post. She is known internationally for her books produced in conjunction with the distinguished botanist Dr Charles Nelson, former taxonomist at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin. ‘An Irish Florilegium’ won a bronze medal for the ‘Most Beautiful Book in the World’ at the Leipzig Book Fair, and has been recently reproduced. She produced over fourteen books on the subject. Wendy Walsh exhibited internationally and won many awards for her work, including several gold medals from the RHS in London. In 1997 she was given an honorary degree at Trinity College. Her most recent book ‘Wild and Garden Plants of Ireland’ by Thames and Hudson was released in March 2009 when she was 95. She lived to within a few weeks of her 99th birthday and continues to be a huge inspiration to so many people, having been made the first honorary member of the recently formed The Irish Society of Botanical Artists.
Lesley Fennell paints mainly in oils; she loves colour, the way light transforms colour in ordinary situations and on every day objects. Lesley’s particular forte is portrait and figure painting for which she has won several awards. She has exhibited widely, including several solo shows and group exhibitions. Some of her work is available to buy from her studio and she also takes on private commissions. She has lived at Burtown House for 40 years and oversees the planting and direction of the gardens.
James Fennell is an international photographer specializing in interiors, portraiture, travel and lifestyle photography, in his work capturing the vastly different people, culture and lifestyles. In the last decade he has traveled extensively around the world working for clients such as Condé Nast and Thames & Hudson, having photographed over 24 books to date. He lives at Burtown with Joanna and his 3 children Bella, Mimi and William. James now heads the kitchen garden produce and is passionate about fresh organic produce.