This blog is about my artist residency for Hotham Park and the artwork I have produced as a result. It is also a place for showcasing the Park’s charms as a place to spend time.
Since September 2013 I have been Artist in Residence for this lovely Park in the centre Bognor Regis. I needed a local project as focus for my artwork and the Park seemed ideal. I put in a proposal to Arun District Council asking to become Artist in Residence for the park. The proposal was accepted and I have continued in that role to the present.
The park started out as the estate of Sir Richard Hotham, a Hatter, entrepreneur and politician and called the father of Bognor. In 1792 he built a house with a chapel having and impressive clocktower which still stands today though the rest of the large house has been rebuilt and now is divided into private flats.
Following the death of Sir Richard the estate had a succession of occupiers the last being William Fletcher and his wife Agnes. William travelled widely bringing back specimens of trees from all over the world and planted them around the estate. There are said to be 48 different species of tree in the Park many of them planted by William.
During the second world war the house and grounds were used by the government and after fell into decline until it was turned into public park.
The Park appealed to me because it has many habitats. There are wild natural places where cow parsley and campion grow in the spring, a wildlife conservation area with lily ponds and reed beds, a lovely Mediterranean Garden and a Winter Garden with willow and dogwood bushes. There are wide vistas and interesting quirky places. The Park has a smart new cafe, a crazy golf course, a boating pond, two children’s play areas and a narrow track rail circuit with an engine called Boris. The park is also rich in bird life and boasts a large population of rooks and crows.
There is in fact a lot to inspire an artist in this lovely open space in the centre of our Town.