Iconic Sheffield landmark brought to life thanks to award-winning artist

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An iconic Sheffield landmark has been brought to life thanks to an award-winning artist’s Christmas card design for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.

For the past seven years, Margaret Ellis has lovingly crafted watercolor designs for Bluebell Wood’s exclusive Christmas card range, raising thousands of pounds for the charity.

This year’s yuletide original shows the Peace Gardens and Sheffield Town Hall blanketed in snow as children and families enjoy the wintery weather.

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Margaret’s latest watercolour joins her previous designs which beautifully depict local landmarks and areas including Chatsworth House and the village of Baslow. Her Christmas cards are available at Bluebell Wood’s online shop.

The snow covered Peace Gardens by Margaret EllisThe snow covered Peace Gardens by Margaret Ellis
The snow covered Peace Gardens by Margaret Ellis

Artist Margaret, who is based in Ecclesall, has exhibited at the Great Sheffield Art Show and Art in The Gardens. The Peace Gardens has a special significance for her.

“I’ve lived in Sheffield all my life so I remember the area from being a tiny child,” she said.

“I’ve seen it alter over the years and I’ve watched the Peace Gardens gradually develop and change. I remember when I went to art college I used to enjoy having my lunch on the Peace Gardens so it does have a certain significance for me, like it does for so many local people.”

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Margaret begins work on her festive artwork long before we all start thinking about dusting off the Christmas decorations – a process that posed certain challenges this year.

Artist Margaret Ellis outside the Peace GardensArtist Margaret Ellis outside the Peace Gardens
Artist Margaret Ellis outside the Peace Gardens

“In normal times I would have come to the Peace Gardens to paint it in person, but because of the Covid restrictions at the time I had to do it from a photograph,” she added.

“The photograph I used had been taken in the summer when there was no snow of course, so there’s a lot of artistic license there.

“Also, the people, the passers by and the children playing, which you see in the painting, were not in the original photo. I either made them up or referenced them from my sketch books and imported them into the picture, to make sure I got the feeling and atmosphere of it right.”

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Margaret has enjoyed a long and varied career teaching in local schools and colleges, and since retirement has been teaching eager local amateurs from her purpose-built studio in Ecclesall. Thousands of the artist’s Christmas cards have been sold since she started working her magic for Bluebell Wood.

The paintings by Margaret Ellis are now on Bluebell Wood's Christmas cardsThe paintings by Margaret Ellis are now on Bluebell Wood's Christmas cards
The paintings by Margaret Ellis are now on Bluebell Wood's Christmas cards

“I am delighted to help Bluebell Wood once again,” she added.

“It’s a real pleasure working with such a vital local charity, and the fact that my work is helping to raise funds make it all the more satisfying.

“It’s also a lovely thought to know so many people across the region will have a piece of my work on display at Christmas.”

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Madeleine Oldale, head of communications at Bluebell Wood, said: “Margaret’s stunning and timeless designs are always firm favourites among our supporters so it’s no surprise they’re in high demand once again.

“Each and every card we sell will help us be there for local children and families this Christmas so not only will you be getting a timeless piece of local history, you’ll be making a real difference to those going through the toughest of times.”

Margaret’s design can be bought from Bluebell Wood’s online shop https://www.bluebellwood.org/shop and is on sale in Sheffield Cathedral.