Amateur painter and sculptor Harvey Ladew had a keen appreciation of art in many forms —
painting, traditional sculpture, and of course, the art of topiary. 
Over the years, Ladew Gardens has welcomed local, national and internationally renowned artists to the Gardens to exhibit and sell their work. 

This year, as we celebrate our 50 years as a public garden, Ladew Gardens is thrilled to present the stunning works of

Clayton J. Bright and Anne Blackwell Thompson.


“Moments Observed”


J. Clayton Bright is a self-taught sculptor and (mostly) self-taught painter. He was thirty before he felt an urge to try art. Previously, he served in the Army as a paratrooper with a tour in Viet Nam as a member of a long-range reconnaissance team, lived in Australia, and hitchhiked from Singapore to London. Upon his return to his native Philadelphia he worked on the trading floor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange until a chance encounter with a Jersey cow in 1976 tempted him to try his hand at sculpture. 

Working in a style known as Natural Realism, Clayton captures, in both his sculptures and paintings, a moment observed that defines character or causes him to pause, look closely, and be refreshed. Though his finished works appear effortless and spontaneous, in reality Clayton bases his work on a thoughtful observation of nature carefully recorded. 

In teaching himself to be a sculptor Clayton has created a unique art form. Using bronze instead of a camera he produces remarkable snapshots that preserve a split second in the subject’s life.  The moment captured is always one that affords a precise characterization. Clayton’s pieces have a great complexity beneath their seemingly simple veneer; an attention to craftsmanship gives his art great depth.

He is a Renaissance man and naturalist with a broad range of knowledge which includes horticulture and garden design; architecture; interior and furniture design; the breeding and training of hounds; history, sailing, and bee keeping. For Clayton, all aspects of life are intertwined.  Clayton’s work is timeless and speaks to a universal audience, thus his sculptures and paintings can be found in collections in Asia, South America, Europe and the U.S.

Clayton’s sculptures will be exhibited throughout our 2021 season. Included among the twenty plus bronzes scattered within our gardens that you may happen upon are a sheep resting in our Meadow, a dog playing soccer in the Great Bowl, and a fox scaling a hedge in the Croquet Court.


We invite you to open yourself up to imagination and possibilities as you enter the enchanted world of Clayton Bright.


Jack O'Lantern

A Moment

Third Element

Great Blue


Photos of Clayton Bright's sculptures are credited to: Terrence Roberts

You can also access The price list Here >> PRICE LIST <<





“For the Love of Ladew”


Artist and plantswoman Anne Thompson has created a stunning collection of pressed botanical specimens which she harvested from Ladew Topiary Gardens, preserving the foliage and flowers using centuries-old traditions. The meticulous preservation and artistic presentation are what elevate these found treasures into highly stylized works of art. Every specimen has a story or captures a feeling connecting us to our natural world. By pressing and preserving plants she connects the viewer with nature and hopes to inspire the viewer to discover the beauty at the intersection between art and our delicate ecosystem.


“I strive to evoke a modern aesthetic highlighting nature’s rich bounty. The natural world is my palette, and the kaleidoscope of pressed plant material is my chosen medium. I strongly believe that connecting with nature provides a respite and sanctuary from a technology driven society. I embrace merging botanical knowledge with artistic instincts to combine three of my passions into my daily life: art, botany and gardening.”


View Anne’s beautiful botanical creations at Ladew’s annual Art Show & Sale the weekend of October 8th & October 9th.


Ticket information at