The Revival of Garden Sculpture


In this feature Aston Lark’s Private Clients director, Julie Webb, explores the revival of interest in garden sculpture and the harmony of art in the landscape

We’ve all been spending far more time in our gardens and, in turn, this investment in our quality of life has led to upgrading garden spaces with more seating areas, improved design and planting plus the introduction of sculpture to create a new focal point.

A one-off sculpture can be a thrilling purchase – from choosing the sculptor, the type of material and style of work from abstract, traditional, figurative or kinetic.

Bronze and marble are irresistibly tactile but it can be difficult to actually imagine how a statement piece will look in your garden. In a gallery a sculpture looks divine but often out of context and scale.

So, where do you start?

Founder and curator of new garden sculpture website peavip.co.uk Steve Clark suggests two ways to approach your search. Firstly, to invest time in visiting sculpture gardens and parks.

Steve said: “It is such a wonderful experience to walk around a tranquil garden dotted with sculpture to get a feel for what you like, and don’t like, and to think about the materials, shapes and colours that appeal to you.

“For a bespoke piece, a sculptor will make a drawing based on the client’s thoughts and create a maquette, so a small version can be used to make any adjustments to the main piece.

“A one-off commission will be a higher price but if the client is happy for a few more editions to be made the cost will reduce.

“Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset is definitely one of my recommendations. Sculptor Simon Gudgeon, whose work ‘Serenity’ can be seen near the Diana Memorial Fountain, in Hyde Park, London, displays his work and guest artists’ sculpture across 26 acres. It makes for a fabulous day out with the River Frome running along the edge of the landscape.

“Simon’s work is often wildlife-focused, although Beralus Prima Ballerina Ksenia Ovsyanick also poses for his work; that’s the level of detail to expect.

“Of course, there are many garden events across the country for more inspiration, from RHS Hampton Court, RHS Tatton Park and RHS Chelsea, permanent displays such as the Henry Moore Studios and Gardens in Hertfordshire and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives, Cornwall.

“My second recommendation, for those who are short on time, is to view websites and to request help with their search – that can be for private gardens, hotels, offices or a public space.

“At peavip.co.uk visitors can look for sculptures that reflect the spirit of their garden. We curate collections by internationally acclaimed artists and assist with commissions.

“One of my time-deficient clients said it made the whole process so much simpler. It’s the same as wine and cars – an expert can source the best possible purchase.”

Insuring your sculpture

Whether you have had a sculpture in your garden for decades or have acquired a new piece it is important to look after it and, with insurance, make sure the item is treated as ‘fine art’ and not included under general contents. This will ensure the cover is wider, and most specialist insurers will cover on an agreed valuation basis.

It’s also important to review the value every three to five years and ask the sculptor to provide an up to date valuation as they will know the replacement value. Keep lots of good images, too.

Above all, from the outset, ensure the sculpture is professionally installed and securely fixed.  Depending on value, some insurers may require additional security.

Remember, too, that in severe winter it is well worth protecting old stone with a cover. If you notice any small damage or hairline cracks get them repaired so moisture cannot get in during freezing temperatures.

To talk to us about the insurance you have in place for your home or sculpture, or to book an appointment for when your insurance is due to renew, call us on 020 8181 3169 or visit us at https://www.astonlark.com/abode2

No hard sell, just good old-fashioned advice.

Inspirational parks and gardens to visit:

Yorkshire Sculpture Park
An open-air collection of around 100 sculptures and installations in the 500-acre historic pleasure grounds around Bretton Hall, West Yorkshire. Digital guide on the Bloomberg Connects app.


Sculpture by the Lakes, Dorchester

Over the last 10 years Simon and Monique Gudgeon have created a garden that is the perfect setting for Simon’s art which focuses on quality and mastery of the craft.

Chatsworth, Derbyshire

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s 105-acre garden features the installation of a new monumental sculpture, Natural Course, by Laura Ellen Bacon.

Runnymede and Ankerwycke

See Writ in Water, the architectural landmark by Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger which explores Clause 39 of Magna Carta (sealed at this site) and offers a tranquil place of reflection.

Hannah Peschar

View around 200 pieces in a natural landscape created by British and European sculptors.

Whitworth Park
Among the gems, look out for what appears to be a tree made of mirrors. Built in stainless steel, this sculpture by Anya Gallaccio reinstates a fallen ancient tree and explores ideas of loss, memory and presence.

Terence Coventry Sculpture Park, Cornwall
In clifftop meadows beside the coastal path near Coverack, Cornwall, the late Terence Coventry’s work celebrates his life as an artist who worked also as a pig farmer. Animals and birds feature strongly.

The Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Stunning gardens are scattered with sculptures by artists including Barbara Hepworth and Rebecca Warren. Highlights include a yellow pitchfork by Michael Craig-Martin, and Dancing Figures (1956), by post-war sculptor Lynn Chadwick, which references the 1950s Teddy Boy movement.

Jupiter Artland, Midlothian, Scotland

A 100-acre meadow just outside Edinburgh is home to more than 30 permanent sculptures created for this dramatic location by artists including Phyllida Barlow, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Cornelia Parker.

Godinton House and Gardens, Ashford, Kent
Sculpture in The Garden, July 24 to August 15, is an annual exhibition of contemporary work in 13 acres. See an eclectic mix of work from traditional figurative art and abstracts in stone through to bronze, glass, steel and willow.

RHS shows
RHS Hampton Court July 6-11

RHS Tatton Park July 21-25

RHS Chelsea September 21-26


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