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Mirror Mirror was a group exhibition I curated at the historic Elvaston Castle in Derbyshire in February 2023. It was a glorious week, in a magical setting and the response we received was incredible. Read below for more details.

This group exhibition is inspired by Elvaston Castle and it's surroundings, and also previous inhabitants. In particularly, Maria Foote.

The creators are all from different disciplines and include: David William Sampson (Ceramicist), Kim Fowler (Illustration), Kirstie Adamson (Collage Artist), Ray Gumbley (Fine Art Photographer) and Stevie Davies (Glass Artist).

Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook for news on the exhibition and our artists.

Below are mini Bio's of all the artists involved in the exhibition and the inspiration behind their pieces.

David William Sampson


'Often in ceramics; cracks, pin-holed glazing, mixing of clay and patchy slips are seen as defects, but I have created a body of work that enhances and celebrates these, each is still beautiful and valid in its own right. They have been made imperfectly-perfect with confident construction and finishes applied. Some will see the children and have an instant parental instinct, then look closer to see that they are decapitated, broken faced or damaged and it leaves people unknowing how to feel; this conjuring of mixture of emotions and it is that very element that evokes intrigue and conversations! Some people are unsure if to be scared, hate or if to love them even more. They are all intriguing little characters that are all individual and hold their own temperament, from princes to clowns and apomorphic elements creeping in, these children just want to play, be loved and adopted into a new family.'

Please follow David on his social media links below for further information:





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Kim Fowler

'My work is highly influenced by history, mythology, fairy tales and the art nouveau period. I have always tried to create work that takes you away from everyday reality and allows the mind to create it's own story; a window into another world or glimpse into a dream.

My paintings and drawings are extremely detailed and steeped in symbolism which adds extra credence to the narrative of each piece. I spend a great deal of time researching the subject matter and finding the correct reference photos and imagery to work from. I like to immerse myself in the chosen topic/area, even to the point of visiting sites and museums abroad, in order to flood my subconscious with details that can leak out naturally into my art. I suppose it can be deemed as slightly obsessive (!) but it is a method that seems to work for me. Hence my vast library on art history and mythology. I am a complete book addict.

Due to the complexity of work, originals can take up to 6 months to complete. I usually work at A1 scale, using fine liner pens, which is then digitally scanned so that quality prints and posters can be created. Sometimes I add colour digitally in Photoshop and I have had designs laser engraved onto wood. The finished original drawing is sometimes just the beginning of another piece.'

Please follow Kim via her social media links below for up-to-date information:





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Apparently it is #worldartnouveauday today; obvs I am all over it!!! Viva la revelucion.__

Kirstie Adamson

'I have always had a great interest in finding ways of using waste materials in my artwork. I was introduced to this technique at art college in 1994 when I was asked to collage a still life using newspapers. I loved the effect and have repeatedly returned to it. I turned my attention to reclaimed metal during my degree in Applied Arts at the University of Derby which I completed in 2000. I experimented with a variety of materials following this but in 2007 I decided to specialise in magazine collage. I don't use any imagery from the magazines but I use the colours and textures that I find as an alternative to paint. It is intentional that when viewing my work that the method used is not instantly obvious. At first glance it is often assumed that I have used paint and only on closer inspection does it become apparent that the piece consists entirely of ripped and cut magazines. The intention is to challenge our perceptions, highlighting how small changes in our methods and materials can enhance our work while reducing impact.'

Please follow Kirstie on his social media links below for further information:






Ray Gumbley


'The magic of light and dreams – Creating, inspiring and believing in fine art photographs which transcend time and place and can be treasured for generations!

First and foremost I have a passion for the arts, fashion and the people I work with and use photography as a means to create my artwork. In doing so, I’m looking to capture and bring alive the dreams and the imagination of those I’m photographing.

Whether you’re looking for a beautifully orchestrated fine art photograph of yourself, a loved one or simply an intimate couples portrait as a keepsake, for me it’s all about the experience itself and making it special for you, your partner, family or friends.

I want you to take time and enjoy the experience of being photographed and in doing so, together we will create beautiful fine art portraits which will be treasured for generations and stand the test of time.'

Please follow Ray via his social media links below for up-to-date information:





Stevie Davies

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'Imagine an ever changing artwork, seeing something new each time you catch a glimpse throughout the day. Sunshine through your window moves creating delicate refractions of light that play with unique textures, the colourful shadows cast, and dance, across the table. Using a variety of warm glass techniques and numerous kiln firings to create each one-off wall art, sculptural works and jewellery, I manipulate layers of specialist glass, in my chosen colour combinations, to construct captivating objects. Continuously developing my unique glass designs in contrasting textures which encourage playful interaction with light. I seek to capture your attention, give pleasure, encourage you to notice the subtleties within each piece and indulge in over the top sparkly goodness.

Glass is such a fascinating material, it is familiar yet unpredictable, solid and translucent, hard but delicate. I focus on highlighting its natural shine with the application of various specialist surface finishes, individually handmade elements and sensitive colour palette. I strive to craft truly dynamic feature works of art for your home or office.'

Please follow Stevie via her social media links below for up-to-date information:





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The Venue

Elvaston is a hidden gem, close to Derby, with beautiful grounds and a very interesting history. It is built in a Gothic Revival style and has over 200 acres of gardens, woodlands, parkland and formal gardens. The castle itself is Grade II listed and is currently being restored.

Of all the previous inhabitants, Charles Stanhope, 4th Earl of Harrington, was perhaps the most famous due to the scandal he caused by marrying an actress called Maria Foote. They were "inseparable and besotted" with each other, and Maria is supposed to be the 'White Lady', the ghost who wanders the grounds with a white dog, or sitting on the windows of the castle.

The Gothic Hall, where Mirror Mirror will be held, was redesigned by the 4th Earl as a tribute to his great love Maria, and he renamed it as the 'Hall of the Fair Star' in his wife's honour. Various mottoes can be seen emblazoned across the walls such as  'Faithful to Honour and Love'; 'Gallantry, Courtesy and Love'; 'Fayre beyond the Fayrest'. To this day the hall stands as a symbol of the chivalrous pursuit of love.

Since then, what is known today as Elvaston's Gothic Hall has featured in the film 'Women in Love' (1969) directed by Ken Russell and based on D.H. Lawrence's novel. In it, Elvaston Castle was referred to as 'Shortlands' and the splendid Gothic Hall provided the perfect stage for the nude wrestling scene between Oliver Reed (Gerald Crich) and Alan Bates (Rupert Birkin), which took place in front of a blazing log fire. The grounds were also featured in the film and anyone who has seen the picture may well remember the garden party and carousels on East Avenue, together with boats with ornate Chinese lanterns on the lake.

All the artists feel very humbled to be given such a space to exhibit with in, and hope to bring even more beauty to such a stunning setting.

For more information on Elvaston Castle, including maps and travel advive, please click  here


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