Artist Angela sees more in a tulip than a flower

Tulips paintings exhibition.
Tulips paintings exhibition.

Artist Angela Stanbridge would be the first to admit that, when it comes to tulips, she is a little obsessed.

What she does not know about this brightly-coloured, delicate flower possibly isn’t worth knowing, and Angela’s passion certainly shows itself in her artwork.

When I spoke to Angela, she had recently returned from Holland, where she took a special trip to photograph, and eventually paint, more unusual varieties of tulips than are commonly grown in the UK.

She is also currently staging an exhibition of paintings, simply entitled ‘Tulips,’ at The Castle theatre in Wellingboorugh until Friday, May 31.

Angela, who lives in Hunsbury, Northampton, said: “I have specifically gone for work that I didn’t exhibit at 78 Derngate, but it is the same in terms of the subject being tulips; that is the main focus of my work and I’m somewhat obsessed.”

But how did her passion for this flower come about?

Angela said: “When I was doing my BA at The University of Northampton, I was looking at how old Masters were painted and I picked the Dutch flower painters. Then I started researching tulips and tulipmania.

“Tulips are so diverse. People tend to think of the council flower beds with their plain red and yellow tulips, but there is much more to tulips than that.”

As well as taking her recent trip to Holland, she also grows as many varieties as she can in her garden, to provide subjects for her paintings.

She is fascinated by the early history of the tulip, particularly when, in the 1600s, rare varieties of tulips could cost as much as a house in Amsterdam.

The 49-year-old said: “I have become an expert in the history of tulips. I think I bore people, but I think it is an absolutely fascinating subject.”

A former pupil at John Lea School, in Wellingborough, Angela said that her artistic abilities were encouraged by the then head of art, Hubert Pack, who entered one of her oil paintings into the Wellingborough Art Society’s Annual Exhibition.

Angela, who has recently had work selected for the Society of Botanical Artists’ Annual Exhibition in London, said: “Each of us has the choice of simply seeing a tulip or something much more. I love to take tulips and enhance their drama, which can allow you to view them in a completely different way.”

Entry to see Angela’s work at The Castle theatre is free. Visit www.angelastanbridge.co.uk