ANNETTE MARIE TOWNSEND
ETCHING ON COPPER
Annette Marie Townsend is a natural history artist, designer and maker. After graduating with a BA (Hons) Design in 1995, she was employed by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales as a Scientific Artist. Her career at the museum extended over 20 years, during which time she produced illustrations for academic publications and three dimensional models and dioramas for gallery display. She also trained and qualified as a Natural Science Conservator, helping to preserve and care for the millions of botanical, geological and zoological specimens in the natural science collections.
Annette now works as a freelance artist from her studio in Cardiff, designing and making bespoke pieces inspired by the natural world. Her work expresses a fascination with intricate detail, beauty, pattern and textures and draws direct reference to her experience in preserving, documenting and storing scientific specimens in a museum context. She experiments with scale and uses her extensive knowledge of traditional and modern design materials to push boundaries, creating innovative new collections.
Her scientific drawings and sculptures are held in the collections of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and many of her models can been seen on permanent display in the public galleries at the National Museum Cardiff and Big Pit National Coal Museum. She is widely known for her expertise in wax botanical model making and has presented papers and demonstrations at the Royal College of Surgeons, Chelsea Physic Gardens and the Hay Festival. She has produced commissioned work for many UK institutions including the National Botanic Garden of Wales, The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Manchester Museum, English Heritage and the BBC.
“My artwork explores nature and the theme of protection. It focuses on the small delicate details that I observe in the natural world that might sometimes be hidden or overlooked. I am inspired by the infinite complexity of microscopic patterns, the richness of natural textures and the composition of miniature habitats. These things fascinate me and fill me with a sense of awe. I study this intricate beauty in forensic detail, sometimes magnifying the scale of those details through my work, to make them more visible.
My work is both decorative and scientific, yet full of meaning which is intertwined with my own experiences. I am intrigued by museum collections and the process of ordering and storing specimens and motivated by my knowledge of how to care for, repair and prevent the decay of objects over time.
Through my artwork I aim to combine fragility and strength in a unique manner, to create beauty and inspiration that will encourage others to observe and protect the natural world around them.”