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Art in the Garden

The Garden as
Sculpture Gallery
Award winning Pashley Manor Gardens is one
of England’s most beautiful gardens – and one
of its finest sculpture galleries. Take a stroll
around Pashley and discover how its
owners have created a spectacular and
unique venue for the works of
noted artists.

Text and Photographs


by Georgianna Lane
Art in the Garden

T he air is intoxicating with the


breeze-borne scent of a thousand
roses as a nymph pulls back her hair
at the edge of a tranquil spring. A youthful flautist entices
you around a corner and in a clearing, two human-sized
hares spar like boxers. You have entered the sumptuous,
romantic and imaginative world of Pashley Manor
Gardens, set in the rolling, wooded countryside of East
Zoé by Kate Denton

1987, when over 1,000 trees on the property were felled.


Despite these challenges, the Sellicks persisted in realizing
their dream of creating a beautiful, quintessential English
garden. With the assistance of well-known landscape
architect Anthony du Gard Pasley, they have brought

Sussex, England.
An historically important Tudor-era estate, Pashley had
lain empty and was overgrown with years of neglect when
purchased by Mr. and Mrs. James Sellick in 1981. The
grounds were further devastated by the epic hurricane of
Art in the Garden

Little Flautist by Mary Cox (top right) and May by Ann Hogben (bottom right).

their passionate vision to reality and the gardens to their Cox, Guy Portelli, Peter Clarke and Helen Sinclair. Local
present glory. Pashley has since won the Historic Houses sculptors are also included, providing them a marvelous

A
Association/Christie’s “Garden of the Year” award, and opportunity to introduce their work.
has been called one of the finest gardens in England.
Among the lush plantings, and along the inviting The Art of Integrating
pathways and gorgeous vistas, the Sellicks have also Art into the Environment
established a considerable outdoor sculpture gallery,
impressive in its eclectic scope. Celebrated during the t Pashley, the sculptures are not passive
annual Sculpture Fortnight (16 May - 28 May 2009), spectators, stuck arbitrarily here and there
and displayed and sold throughout the season, Pashley’s on isolating pedestals. Rather they are involved and
collection represents the work of many prominent sculptors integrated into their surroundings, vital participants in
including Philip Jackson, James Milborrow, Ann Hogben, creating the magical atmosphere of the gardens. They sit
John Brown, Kate Denton, Jenny Wynne-Jones, Mary primly on benches, bathe in pools, recline among the roots
Art in the Garden

Mr. Bennet’s Daughter (left) and Chanting Cimarosa


(above), both by Philip Jackson

Italian opera composer Domenico Cimarosa, the


exaggerated curve of her hat echoing her open
book and the top of her skirt. At six feet tall, the
imposing bronze is riveting, holding court on the
sloping lawn in front of the manor house. The
stylized, modern sculpture framed by the rose-
clad 16th-century house provides a startling and
unexpected juxtaposition, but, as with all wonderful
art, gives the viewer’s preconceptions a thrilling and
thought-provoking jolt.

Mr. Bennet’s Daughter – Like Chanting Cimarosa, Mr.


of trees. And it is this thoughtful integration of art into Bennet’s Daughter is a larger than life size bronze.
the environment that is one of the continuing sources of The tilt of her wrists project the coyness of a coquette but
delightful surprise. the viewer is left to interpret the secrets behind her sharply
A leisurely exploration of the grounds results in the turned head. Mr. Bennet’s Daughter occupies a prominent
discovery of dozens of realistic as well as fanciful sculptures, location at Pashley, at the far end of the famous herbaceous
tucked in among the trees, roses and rhododendrons in borders, with verdant pastureland beyond, and has justly
pastoral repose. But some make a more dramatic entrance, become a lovely symbol of the gardens.
as figures commanding attention upon a vast stage.
Among these are three stunning works by eminent British Philip Jackson’s sculptures have been known to move
sculptor Philip Jackson – graceful, poised, enigmatic, viewers to tears. And his third, and most affecting at
faceless figures alone with their thoughts: Pashley, is Anne Boleyn, positioned on the Island near the
classical temple. Head bowed, hands clasped, the doomed
Chanting Cimarosa – An elegant woman in romantic 18th Anne contemplates her fate in a grove of towering
century Venetian costume sings from a book of music by rhododendron. The location is so perfect, the figure so
Art in the Garden

Anne Boleyn by Philip Jackson. Pashley Manor was once owned by Anne Boleyn’s family and it is likely she visited as a child.

poignant, it sends a chill to the spine, even on a warm day Denton’s Lazy Days makes one hesitate at intruding upon
in summer. the reading girl seated on an iron bench.
But the sculptures at Pashley invoke a broad gamut of Abstracts share space
emotions. As a counter to the somber and mysterious with the abundant roses,
elegance of Philip Jackson’s work, the bronzes of Kate as Peter Clarke’s Feather
Denton engender wonder, surprise and humor. Double Form joins an exuberant
takes abound when visitors behold Stubble Stags, giant hares display of Rosa ‘Pashley’
boxing balanced on hind legs. The incongruity of the pair in the walled garden.
is mesmerizing and
another example
of the marvelous
use of location at
Pashley. Stumbling
upon Stubble Stags
in their private
clearing, one feels Stubble Stags
one has made a (left) and Lazy
Days (above),
personal discovery
both by Kate
of a fantastical Denton
land. Likewise,
Art in the Garden

Who is Sylvia? (top left) by Helen


Sinclair in the Rose Garden;
Feather Form by Peter Clarke
(above left); Rosetta by Jenny
Wynne-Jones (top right); Apache
and Moonshadow (right) by
Gillian Simpson.

G illian Simpson’s filigreed Moonshadow and welded


copper Apache flank the stairs to the patio, which offers
breathtaking views to the verdant fields beyond the garden
As the sculpture installations at Pashley form a changing
exhibition, visitors in future years may encounter pieces
different to those reviewed here. But that is part of the
boundary, open land one can imagine the horses yearning enduring appeal of Pashley. Whatever the style or subject
to escape to. matter, the inspirational marriage of sculpture and setting
More traditional figurative works inhabit the pool area, at Pashley shows a delicate sensitivity in the use of art to
where Rosetta by Jenny Wynne-Jones peeks out through enhance the spell of an already enchanting location. ✍
billowing roses and Ann Hogben’s Sophie shyly greets
visitors ascending the brick stairs. (For information on visiting Pashley Manor Gardens, see next page).
Art in the Garden

Pashley Manor Gardens


through September. See the web site for days, times and
In addition to the Sculpture Fortnight, Pashley hosts a admission rates.
number of important art and garden related events each Pashley Manor Gardens is located on the B2099 road,
year, including an exhibition of botanical and flower near the village of Ticehurst, in East Sussex, England.
drawings by leading artists, a very popular Tulip Festival
and the Special Rose Weekend. Sculptures on the property For full details, visit www.pashleymanorgardens.com
can be viewed during any of these events. Email: info@pashleymanorgardens.com
For 2009, the gardens are open to the public from April Phone: (UK) 01580 200888

© 2008 Global Fine Art Registry, LLC. All Rights Reserved. FAR® and the Fine Art Registry Logo are registered trademarks of Global Fine Art Registry, LLC.
Garden Credit: Pashley Manor Gardens. Photographs © Georgianna Lane.

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