Garden statues are – as the name implies – designed and created to be viewed in a garden, with the greenery perfectly complementing the relaxing aesthetics of a Buddha, the Hindu elephant god Ganesh or the more traditional heraldic stylings of lions and gargoyles.
But this weekend sees the opening of an indoor exhibition of garden statues in Luton’s Wrest Park, after many of the sculptures were deemed too fragile to be displayed in the 90-acre gardens. They will now be displayed in the garden’s former dairy, which will be open to the public for the first time, thanks to a £1.14 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Many of the garden statues date back to the beginning of the 18th century, when the gardens were first laid out by Henry, Duke of Kent.
English Heritage senior properties historian Andrew Hann told the local press: “The Dairy sculpture gallery is just one of the many ways we are bringing Wrest Park’s historic gardens to life for a new generation of visitors.”
“Over 250 years the de Grey family employed the most celebrated garden designers of their time to shape the landscape and these statues were an integral part of their schemes.”