Thursday, 07 July 2022

Artists unveil sculptures in National Trust gardens

Artists unveil sculptures in National Trust gardens

SCULPTURE in the Gardens at Greys Court is up and running for a fifth year.

The artists installed their pieces in the grounds as well as inside the National Trust property early on Thursday last week before the annual exhibition opened to the public.

More than 20 members of the Oxford Sculptors Group are exhibiting about 150 pieces for five weeks.

All the sculptures, which range from bronze, stone, steel, wood, glass and ceramic pieces, will be available to buy and they can be delivered or collected after the exhibition.

John Nicholls, one of the organisers, said: “It’s a lovely setting. The gardens really set up the sculptures beautifully.

“The show has been very successful for us over the years in terms of sales. People come from all over the country and it’s very enjoyable. The National Trust works very well with us. It’s a very happy set-up.”

Fellow organiser Roz Read said: “It’s the fifth year we’ve done this and it has become more successful each time. We’ve raised more than £20,000 over the five years.

“We’re now back in full flow after a couple of years of covid restrictions. I’m very excited.”

Maxine Farmer is displaying a piece called Walking Woman made from wire.

She said: “It’s about empowerment and strength. She represents that women are strong, always striving forward. They don’t let life get them down.

“Out of all the pieces I’ve done, she is probably the one I have the biggest emotional connection with.”

Ms Farmer, who lives in France but has a property on Rod Eyot in Henley, added: “We only come back for the summer.

“It is always a nice coming back and displaying my sculptures here.”

Sue Jones is exhibiting Fallow, which is made from bronze resin.

She said: “My father was a farmer, so as a little child I would walk around the ploughed fields. That is what this piece represents, as well as the earth we all come from.

“It’s thrilling to display my piece in such a beautiful place, especially among other sculptures of such a high standard.”

Christine Baxter has created a collection of ceramic peace doves in tribute to the people of war-torn Ukraine.

The doves were moulded from clay and biscuit-fired before being given a glaze and put in a 1,000C oven. They were then taken out and put in a dustbin filled with straw, causing a fire.

This gave each dove unique markings that are visible once they have cooled.

Ms Baxter said: “Even if I wasn’t exhibiting sculptures I’d want to come here. It makes me feel very inadequate about my own garden because it’s so beautiful. The gardens really set off the sculptures. It is all so fantastic.”

Nick Baker is displaying two sculptures, Rusty Red Protea and Purple Protea, which he cut and shaped out of steel.

Mr Baker said: “The protea is the national flower of South Africa, which is where I used to live. That’s why they hold real meaning to me.

“It’s fantastic to have them displayed amongst all these incredible sculptures. There is a real community in the sculpture world.”

Lilly Henry’s The Dancing Stones is made from bronze resin and was inspired by three pebbles she found on a beach in Crete.

She said: “I like to think there are people inside them trying to get out. That’s what gives them their fluid appearance.

“I love Greys Court and what the team organises here each year. It is such a great event and it is really nicely done.”

Catherine Thompson, of the National Trust, said: “This is always the highlight of our year as visitors are always so excited to see the sculptures.

“It really fits the spirit of the National Trust and it’s always a nice way to start the summer.”

More News:

POLL: Have your say