Gnomes; Goddesses; Dragons and Dogs. Whats the point of garden statues?
Why would you bother to put a statue in your garden? They are useless, aren't they? Well, yes... and no. There are three good reasons why you might like to have a statue or few.
Garden statues. What function do they fulfil? Useless junk or valuable art? You decide.
Firstly, there's the links to history
. The heritage that involves statues. It's all part of the human psyche. The ancients celebrated the classical gods
by replicating them in an acceptable form. Venus
was hailed as the deity of gardens. You only have to look at the Renaissance gardens of Italy to realise that many of the oldest formal gardens are outdoor museums. Homes to the muses or goddesses. Daughters of Zeus
. According to Greek mythology there are nine daughters and each of these presided over a different art. Classical figures were created to represent the gods and revered beings. These were placed in beautiful surroundings in order to appease the spirits and create an atmosphere of positive energy and harmony.
Classical statues evoke a feeling of historic appreciation and an awareness of value.
Wise and wonderful classical statues speak louder than words when it comes to value.
Venus reigned supreme in gardens, and is still very much evident today. She is rarely carved from marble
in our modern times but is more often cast in concrete
or perhaps bronze
. The goddess Diana
, who saw her mother suffer in childbirth and decided to live in celibacy, became a symbol of purity and virtue and she too makes a calm and beautiful statue, whilst the gods Zeus and the gladiator Mercury
are strategically placed for a show of strength and challenge.
A classical statue of gladiator Mercury at Rousham gardens , Oxfordshire
It made perfect sense that people should have a smaller version of their god or goddess at home in order to remind themselves of the values associated with the deity. They would place their effigy in a place that enabled them to tune in to their emotions and more often than not this would be a quiet outdoor space.
Domestic gardens now include scaled-down versions of classical statues, adding a touch of class, perhaps?
Where once a sculpture was just about the most important aspect of a garden, the tables have turned. Its generally gardens first, then sculpture as an embellishment. There are exceptions, of course. Many contemporary sculptors
will expect their creation to take pride of place and gardens are sometimes designed around the placement of ornamental embellishment.
Contemporary sculpture in a garden provides a great talking point.
There's no doubt that this contemporary sculpture forms a centre piece of this garden.
The second reason why a sculpture might add another dimension to your life is the fact that they generally increase the feeling of well-being for the occupants of homes and gardens. This is a role not to be sniffed at. Statues are often treated in a similar way to a family pet.
The family pet. There's no doubt he is loved and cherished. So why not treat your statues as a pet?
Frequently purchased on impulse because they remind us of something that makes us feel good. Human beings just love to create the feeling of a family
and it seems that statues are part of this nurturing mentality. Its all about seeing oneself as part of a bigger picture. Creating the illusion of friends even. Yes, people really do speak to their garden statues
, and why not?
This family of tortoises might make good companions for a home and garden owner
Sometimes added to a to amuse, delight or even shock. Gnomes,
for example. What are they all about? They have been around from the early 1800s and were originally a form of good luck charm. A small person in the garden, watching over the occupants of the house.
A home for a gnome. You might hope these small chaps would provide some lucky magic for a garden.
Lastly, there's a 'snob value' that can be attached to statues. Modern art; classical art; expensive embellishments (no gnomes, little dogs or alligators with lighting-up eyes
). These are statues that are meant to be seen, to be admired and to be envied. They help a person to stake a place in society and can be viewed in a similar way to membership of an elite club. These statues say "look at me, I know about art and design. I am educated". Yes, these are things of beauty which can be appreciated in their own right, but they are rarely hidden away for private viewing only.
Modern art from www.davidharbour.co.uk. This is meant to be seen!
The most popular statue trends for a garden
are undoubtedly the most popular subjects for statues in the domestic gardens. And in 2016 its flamingos
! For some reason we are all obsessed with these pink birds that have long, graceful necks and stick-like legs. Their feature feathers are pink because of the pigments found in the algae and invertebrate food on which they feast. Its all about beta carotene, an organic chemical that contains a red/orange pigment. The popularity of flamingos during 2016 can largely be attributed to fashion group Gucci
which just loves to include something kitsch
and fantastical in photo shoots. Last year it was peacocks. We are all suckers for fashion, hence flamingos
are now wading through our gardens like a pink wave of candyfloss.
This metal garden flamingo costs £30.00 from Perfectplants.co.uk
Albert the metal flamingo could be in your garden for £47.99
are also popular this year. This is, perhaps, due to the much publicised slaying of Cecil the beloved African lion, killed by big game hunters a year ago. We just love to prove that we are keeping up with whats going on outside the garden fence.
Support for lions has grown since Cecil was slain last year. Statues of lions are even more popular than before.
Strangely, however, we seem to also like ugly creatures. Gargoyles, dragons and trolls all appear with glee in our gardens. Alongside dogs, cats, pigs, rabbits, birds. Oh, and goddesses, of course.
Troll for the garden anyone? He's not pretty, but certainly a talking point.