The National Trust, the organisation dedicated to preserving the cultural and environmental treasures of the UK, has announced that a host of angels have taken up residence in the historic gardens of Mottisfont in Hampshire, as part of a unique Christmas sculpture trail.
The Angel Garden has been inspired by Mottisfont's original human-size mosaic angel, which lives in a leafy corner on the south side of the house. Created by renowned artist Boris Anrep in 1947, the face of the angel is that of the woman he loved - Mottisfont's charismatic owner, Maud Russell.
Now nine more artists have created their own very different angel sculptures to join Anrep's and form a trail around Mottisfont's beautiful grounds. Five of the angel sculptures at Mottisfont are new commissions created especially for the project which opens on Friday 2 December.
Louise Govier, visitor experience and communities manager at Mottisfont said: "Working with the artists and seeing how they have interpreted the angel brief differently has been fascinating.
"Each has been influenced in different ways by the building, landscape and people at Mottisfont.
"Every angel is different in style, colour and size and will bring a special atmosphere to Mottisfont this Christmas. We hope visitors will feel enchanted and uplifted as they explore the gardens discovering these wonderful angels and that it puts them in the Christmas spirit."
Made of different materials, including wood, steel, thatching straw and acrylic, the eight artists have taken their inspiration from the surroundings, the history and the people who work at Mottisfont. One of the artworks to be seen for the first time is Ed Elliott's sculpture Greer (from the Celtic for 'watchful' or 'guardian') which is carved from London Plane timber sourced from the Mottisfont estate. It depicts a crouching human-size muscular bodied angel with a huge 14 ft. wingspan. The wing tips brush the earth as if he has just landed in the grounds behind the North Garden.
Ed Elliott, sculptor said: "This work questions the deeper psychological concept of the angel; the paradox between power and beauty, solidity and weightlessness, and the burden of existing as an immortal being."
Nigel Williams' steel Ferric Messenger angel rises from the waters of the famous River Test to greet visitors as they cross the bridge into the gardens.
The tubular body sports a halo, and wings that are studded with dozens of bolt heads - evidence of the artist's involvement in automotive design.
The finish, now a rich orange/brown sheen, is an important element of the sculpture, which has been partially rusted and will continue to change and develop during the exhibition.
In addition to the nine angels on the sculpture trail, there are also hundreds of tiny angels for children to find around The Angel Garden, and free creative activities designed for families.
About The National Trust:
The National Trust cares for 300 inspiring historic houses, gardens and winter gardens across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. From former workers' cottages to the most iconic stately homes, and from mines and mills to theatres and inns, the stories of people and their heritage are at the heart of everything it does. People of all ages, individuals, schools and communities get involved each year with its projects, events and working holidays and over 62,000 volunteers help to bring the properties alive for the Trust's 4 million members, who enjoy family days out at locations throughout the country. Find out more at: www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Assistant Press Officer
The National Trust
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