Saturday, February 16, 2008


click photo to enlarge
Statuary has a long tradition in English gardening, but it reached its high-point in the eighteenth century. The Renaissance had begun to impinge on this island's artistic sensibilities from the sixteenth century, and took a stronger hold in the seventeenth. But it wasn't until the Georgian period that it ruled supreme. Then Classical architecture, art and mythology were the reference points for everyone who wanted to create a country house with landscaped grounds.

Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire has 98 acres of gardens and grounds that feature sculpture at every turn. The landscaping was designed in the twentieth century on eighteenth century principles (though the house dates from the twelfth century with additions from many later centuries). The skilfully placed statues include a lead group by Cheere, a marble Apollo of 1765, mid-eighteenth century busts of Roman emperors, urns by Scheemakers and Delvaux, and much more. They also include the statue of Pan shown above. This Greek god of shepherds, flocks, mountains, hunting and rustic music is generally known for two things - his sexuality and his pipes. At Anglesey this piece is one of a pair that face each other across a narrow path through a yew hedge. The yew has been deliberately and skilfully grown around the statues making them look like they are emerging from the foliage. They seemed to me to be less well-used than they might be in this tight location, so I took this shot of one of the pair to show him off to better effect against his green background.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 13mm (26mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/25
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On