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© Annette Marie Townsend
Tracing Venice

Annette Marie Townsend

Wax worker

Annette Marie Townsend is a Welsh interdisciplinary artist specialising in the field of natural history, working from her urban garden studio in Cardiff. She is a recognised expert in wax botanical sculpture, a skill that she taught herself over 20 years while employed as a scientific artist and conservator at National Museum Wales. Her sculptures express a fascination with intricate detail, perfection and beauty, and explore human relationships with the natural world from an urban perspective. Her work is represented in public collections in the UK and private collections worldwide. She regularly collaborates with scientific institutions and has been commissioned by the National Botanic Garden of Wales, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, and Cornell University, New York.


The technique of replicating plants with wax was popular in Britain during the Victorian era. Beeswax is a stable medium, lasting for thousands of years, and many wax plant sculptures survive in museum collections, but techniques have been lost over time and this is now a rare skill. Botanical wax sculptures are traditionally made from a mixture of beeswax and paraffin wax, melted together and coloured with pigments. The molten waxes are brushed onto wires to create stems; fabric and paper are dipped into the wax to make petals and leaves. These parts are fused together with metal sculpting tools heated over a flame and surface details are carefully added with brushes and acrylic paint to complete the final sculptures.

Objects Next of Europe Exhibition Contact
146 Marlborough Road, CF23 5BZ, Cardiff, United Kingdom
+44 7758496612
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