The Golden Hare

4 February 2017

Dear reader, on Sunday I needed a diversion.

This was the day after the Trump immigration order. It felt overwhelming. I'm one woman, in England. I feel desperately sad for all Americans I connect with via the Internet. No one in my virtual tribe supports this man. But what can I do? I feel powerless.

So a little jaunt out to a little gallery about 30 minutes from my MK home. It may seem trivial and flippant but in these stormy political seas occasionally a beacon of normality can, perhaps, hold you on course. 

Anyways, it was a dismal day and even the dogs were a bit 'meh' about the weather. So we all piled into the car for a little adventure. 

And what a fab little adventure it was. 

The gallery is called The Golden Hare Gallery. It's in Ampthill in Bedfordshire.  Come in and have a little look round.

Ampthill is one of those places - sort of always at the back of my mind ( I know not why) but never visited. Maybe I see it signposted a lot. Who knows.

Anyway, I did not know what to expect. 

A grey, January day does not do the town justice ( a small town, but not a village - it has a Waitrose! Will that reference mean anything to foreign readers?) 

Certainly historic - the road in then the little market square was lined with buildings which seemed modestly Georgian - simply elegant red brick frontages.  But the town felt a bit dissected and dominated by roads. Not great for mooching around and there did not seem to be many shops open to mooch around, except for said Waitrose - which seemed to be heaving. 

But we were after one particular little shop - the gallery called Golden Hare. 

A quick look at the website told us that the name comes from the Golden Hare amulet hidden by artist and author Kit Williams in the 1980s. 

In 1979 Masquerade, a picture book, written and illustrated by Kit Williams, sparked a treasure hunt frenzy. The book, a beautifully executed picture book ( Williams was an artist) concealed visual clues to the location of a jeweled golden hare, created and hidden somewhere in Britain by Williams. (Never mind treasure hunt, the book sold thousands of copies and must have been a bit of a treasure for both artist and publisher. But I digress.)

The hare was actually buried in Ampthill Park - hence the name of the gallery. 

Now I had discovered this gallery via the power of the Internet - or to be precise the joy that is Instagram. I follow it and love the little visual hors d'oevres served up daily. Time to go see for myself. 

It's a sweet little gallery - a lovely space beautifully curated. The owner, a lovely young lady called Laura, has selected a beautiful range of artists work. 

I was thrilled to see that she has a range of work by two local artists - Laura Boswell and Dianna Tonnison. Both are based just outside MK and I have been to both their studios during Open Studios season.

Laura is a well know printmaker. She uses a Japanese wood print technique, using just one print block for each layer of the print, cutting into it for the next layer and thus in effect destroying the block as she goes ( does that make sense?) Her studio is just outside Winslow, my last home from home. And as well as visiting during Open Studios, I used to see Laura out running sometimes when I was walking the dog. 

Dianna is a ceramist but in a very painterly way. She makes wall art of fruit, vegetables and notably fish. 

She also does prints onto recycled wood panels. 

I visited her studio and garden a few years ago. (She is in a small village just to the north of Milton Keynes - a lovely studio space and I had studio envy, I remember.)

And I was also thrilled to see that she has Este Macleod work too. 

Now Este Macleod is an artist whose work is very familiar to me, again through the internet. But it was quite a surprise to see it in the flesh. The pieces were smaller than I expected. I have no idea why I had assumed that the pictures would be bigger, but in fact they were quite modest in size. 

But stunning! The colours just sing out! 

As well as pictures and wall art, The Golden Hare also has a beautiful selection of jewellery. 

Beautiful earrings by Amanda Ray. 

Silver by Kerry Newth

Textiles by Siouki

And Zoe Acketts

And I discovered a new artist to me, Brenda Parsons. She also stitches with paper - a lady close to my heart. 

And to end this little tour, ceramics. 

Lovely ceramics but these by Sarah Groves particularly spoke to me. 

Just look at those 'textile' textures!  Little quilted vases! 

This is such a lovely little gallery. If you are in the area of sailing past on the M1 it is well worth a little detour. 

But don't worry if you can't because it has a really good website and Laura will happily send work out to you. 

Just lovely! 

(all photos courtesy the Golden Hare Gallery) 


  1. What lovely work, the gallery owner has a very good eye. I really enjoyed Masquerade when it came out, but I never took part in the treasure hunt. Global politics are so terrifying at present, it is good to be reminded of beautiful things.

    1. Thanks. I enjoyed the book but didn't join in with the treasure hunt. We might even still have it somewhere. I agree with global politics. Its as though we are all marching towards a cliff. Thank goodness for art - both as therapy and as a protest tool.

  2. What a lovely visual visit you gave me on a cold grey Monday morning! I especially enjoyed Laura boswell's beautiful woodblock prints. Thank you!

    1. That is my absolute pleasure. It is such a lovely little gallery and deserved a bit of a plug.

  3. It's obvious from the video and the photos you've shared that all work here is of high quality, both in design and execution. And I think your use of the word "curated" explains why. Every gallery or shop owner must decide what items to carry, which artists to include, and some do it more artfully than others. What a gem of a place. I so enjoyed the tour!

    1. Thanks Sheila. I think this is my new favourite gallery. I loved my little browse there.

  4. Hi Hillary, thank you so much for this lovely write up about the gallery! I'm so pleased you enjoyed your visit. It was lovely to meet you. Such a great blog! See you soon, Laura

    1. Thank you for letting me use your photos. I have a modest readership but it would be just lovely if someone discovered you as a result of this post.

  5. It looks like a wonderful place to distract the mind from the current political horrors, if only for a little while. I think it's far from trivial - it's vital for the rest of us to retain our sanity in any way we can. Beautiful art works - you've made me want to know more about all those artists. And Open Studios season sounds like a very bad idea to me - all those studio spaces of which to become envious!!

    Lovely post, thank you.
    Alison x


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