SCRATCH beneath the surface of Cirencester and its surrounding area and a hotbed of artistic talent emerges.

On Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 the Cotswold Open Studios Hidden Treasures returns to put that talent on public display.

With over 38 exhibitors at 18 venues in a ten mile radius of Cirencester, Hidden Treasures will reveal the artists and makers, many with international reputations, who are quietly going about the business of creating work of exceptional quality.

The 2011 Open Studios event attracted 2,000 visitors and for 2013 there is even more to bring visitors in.

"I feel really proud to be showing everyone in the area so much quality art, craft and design," said Cotswold Open Studios director Tessa Webb. "It is very exciting that we have these people on our doorstep."

Such talents include painter Christopher Johnson, who has had solo shows all around the world and internationally renowned artist John Lendis, who will be talking about his work at his studio in the parkland of the Stowell Park Estate.

Darrell Warner is recognised in the film world for his costume concept illustrations for the likes of Disney, Paramount and Warner Brothers and costume designs for Pirates of the Caribbean and Captain America.

He is also a portrait artist of some renown (his work has just been shortlisted out of thousands for the Sky Arts TV portrait competition). His work will be on view at his studio at the lakeside location of The Watermark Club.

Mr Warner, who is about to start illustrations for costumes for Pirates of the Caribbean 5, is looking forward to throwing open his studio. "My work is quite diverse. As well as portraits this will be a good opportunity for the public to see what goes on in the world of film costume illustration. The films I work on are big budget and everything is bespoke. This will be a chance to see the whole process. These things are never seen apart from as finished costumes on screen."

Adding a touch of celebrity to the weekend will be Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, recognised for his work as an interior designer, but first and foremost a classically trained artist. He is putting on a show encompassing art school, the Blackpool illuminations, room designs, and applied decoration.

This year the Wetpaint Gallery in Cirencester will be showing a number of artists, including Don Cordery who puts a unique stamp on the Cotswold Open Studios. He has designed stamps for the Royal Mail and now creates calm abstract worlds.

Wetpaint will also be showing the work of Sophie Ryder, a local but international name and Fiona McIntyre.

And The New Brewery Arts has guaranteed that all makers' studios will be open for this weekend.

Local sculptor and painter Joanna Walker will be opening up her studio in Preston once again after the success of the 2011 Hidden Treasures. She said: "We had an enormous amount of people through the door last time. They were interested in the arts and inquisitive about what goes on in a studio.

"The event is great for artists to get their work out there but it also works at a community level. It allows people to find out what is going in their local area. It is an enriching and uplifting experience."

The Cotswolds itself inspires many artists and this can be seen in their work. Siddington-based Richard Kenton Webb, senior lecturer in drawing and applied arts, will be showing a film about his work, alongside his most recent series of prints inspired by the local landscape.

Emerging artist Karen Bowers records the beauty of the Cotswolds in paint and one of Britain's leading wildlife sculptors, Adam Binder takes his inspiration from the natural world around him.

It's a family affair at a studio in Chedworth, where one of the UK's leading potters, David Garland, is keeping the traditional skill of hand-thrown pottery alive. Wife Sarah Garland, a well-known illustrator of children's books will also show her work and daughter Kitty will display her paintings.

After the success of the 2011 Alexcars vintage bus tours, Hidden Treasures has decided to offer this again, so those wishing to arrive in style at the venues need to book early to avoid disappointment.

However you arrive, make some space in your diary to enjoy some of the Hidden Treasures of art in the Cotswolds.

  • Hidden Treasures is on Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, June 30, from 9.30am-5.30pm each day. A full list of artists taking part can be found at or call Tessa Webb on 01285 651790.
  • The Alexcars 1950s vintage bus Old Babs will be running tours on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30. Art lovers will be treated to a guided tour covering venues 1-8 on the Saturday and venues 9-17 on the Sunday. Tickets for the magical mystery tour are £16 from the Cirencester Visitor Information Office at the Corinium Museum (01285 654180).
  • An exhibition showcasing the artists is running in conjunction with Cotswold Open Studios at The Corinium Museum until July 20.