Sunday, April 26, 2015

"My garden is

my most beautiful masterpiece”
 ~Claude Monet

For those of us who garden and have survived the winter, the dirt beckons us.  Although my home does not rival Monet's, I do have flowers and garden statues.  I also have a few vintage pieces as well as some new ones in stock at the shop.
That brings me to today's show and tell...the garden statue.  Historically, the ancient Egyptians had sculptures of their gods in the temples and temple gardens.  The Romans and Greeks carried on the tradition for use in their gardens.  The Venus de Medici is thought to be a marble copy of a 4th century bronze.  (An early version of Victoria's Secret...but no secret here!)
The Renaissance in Italy fostered gardens and garden decoration.  It is said that statues were rotated to represent the seasons and the statues of the mythological characters changed also as the ancient past was explored.   Of course, once France and England discovered this trend (amazing how people were able to learn about things before social media!), the leaders began to create ornamental gardens. 
During the British Civil War, garden statues dropped into disrepute. Bronzes and metal statues were melted down for musket shot because they were considered as pagan photographs by proponents of Oliver Cromwell.

King Charles II revived gardens during his reign in the mid 1600s.
 He was a patron of the arts, and he and his court were largely responsible for the revival of public drama and music in what is known as the Restoration period.  Garden statues were reproduced, and garden design flourished again. Gods and mythological creatures were within every yard and patio as garden decorations.  In the early 1600s, Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, collected garden sculpture antiquities for his property in London.  The collection is now housed in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
While the famous usage of garden statues lives on, today these lawn ornaments are far more than simply a status symbol. In most cases they are not a position symbol, but simply a means of ornamenting a backyard or garden to offer it the design and feel the homeowner is attempting to reach. 
From gnomes to angels, garden statuary provides a sense of whimsy as well as the past in your garden.
"A garden without its statue is like a sentence without its verb." 
~Joseph Beach

1 comment:

Raymond Quinn said...

Wow! Your garden looks awesome! Your creativity is just oozing with the way you designed your garden, especially with the plants you chose to put in there. Also, the statues all look great. Anyone who would get to visit your garden would totally feel like their being brought back to the Renaissance period. Hahaha! In any way, thanks for sharing that, Susan! All the best to you!

Raymond Quinn @ River Oaks Plant House