Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens and the Surrey Sculpture Society have launched a new collaboration for 2024, showcasing local artists from Sussex and Surrey.
The Society, which has previously exhibited during the summer months at the West Sussex estate, has designed and curated a new Art Walk featuring over 100 sculptures. The exhibition will run year-round in the Grade I Listed gardens, with admission included in the entrance price to Leonardslee.
The design of the Art Walk and the artful location of each sculpture take advantage of the setting with its diverse range of trees and shrubs, often rare and threatened in the wild. The trail winds down to the estate’s seven lakes and conveniently ends with a return shuttle service.
Visitors are treated to an extensive exhibition of affordable sculptures, starting from just £175, in a range of styles and sizes, suitable for almost any garden or home. The works are by both established and emerging artists and are made in a wide range of materials including bronze, resin, glass, metal, wood, stone, ceramic and found objects.
As well as an outdoor trail, there is a new indoor sculpture exhibition situated within Leonardslee House with plans to expand the collection further into its sister property, Mannings Heath Estate just three miles away. All artwork is for sale.
The venue, with its 240 acres of gardens and lakes, parkland and forests, has a range of visitor facilities for snacks, lunch and dinner, as well as a gift shop, garden centre and a ‘magical world in miniature’ at the popular Beyond the Dolls’ House exhibition.
Adam Streeter, general manager at Leonardslee Lakes and Garden, says:
“Leonardslee is becoming a centre for the arts in the Southeast. With the opening of the new sculpture trail, we will be launching a programme of events for children and schools in 2024, with guided tours and activities, so that everyone can fully enjoy the art in the special setting of the gardens. There are also plans for workshops where visitors can meet with the artists to create their own personal pieces of art.”
Surrey Sculpture Society exhibition manager, Abby Martin, says:
“It's a joy to work with the team at Leonardslee who are as passionate about bringing art and sculpture to the public as the society. The opportunity to take our relationship with the estate to a new level is very exciting. This year-round venture will allow us to exhibit sculptures for longer, rotating the works so that there are always new features, new works and new artists to see, to keep the trail alive and evolving.”
Admission to the Surrey Sculpture Society’s Sculpture Art Walk Trail is included in the entrance price to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, Brighton Road, Lower Beeding, Horsham, RH13 6PP.
The venue is open daily from 9am to 4pm, off-peak in the autumn and winter, and 9am to 5pm in the spring and summer.
About the Artists
There are some 100 sculptures by over 40 different artists, showcasing a wide variety of mediums, styles, and subjects.
Key features of the Art Walk include:
Large metal sculptures like "Higher Daddy Higher" by Seamus Cuddihy and "Feel” by Alex Smith
Animal sculptures are very popular, with pieces like "Prowling Wolves" by Graeme Lougher, "Territorial Tiger" by Teresa Martin, and "Lean on Me” by Min Reid.
Abstract sculptures such as "Go Figure" by Elizabeth Leyland, "Cuboidal" by Jo Walls, and the Fractaala series by Juliette Derwent.
Figurative works like "Bliss” by Laura Jane Wylder and the floral-inspired "Purple Protea" by Nicholas Baker.
Several artists have multiple pieces in the show, including Jeremy Moulsdale, Diana Roles, Adam Aaronson, Kate Woodlock, and others.
Surrey Sculpture Society Artists include:
Nick is Chair of the Surrey Sculpture Society. He is a self-taught sculptor with a background in construction. His Surrey-based workshop is full of everything from intricate staircases to oversized flowers and kinetic creations. He works principally in metal and other cast materials. At Leonardslee, you will be welcomed by a group of Protea flowers down by the lake along with his kinetic works, Choir and Chorus.
He says of his work, “I love the freedom that sculpture affords – the chance to let the imagination run free and with no rules, barring pesky Newton’s physics. With another hat on, I enjoy the discipline of constructing functional pieces, where measurements, angles and accuracy are paramount.
Sarah is a fine art, realist sculptor working primarily in clay. Her animal sculptures which, after moulding, are generally cast in resin or bronze, are a joy to behold indoors and out.
She says of her practice: “I’m particularly inspired by capturing both the mood and form of my subjects. I find that a pose can impart so much meaning, the squint of an eye, the set of a jaw, puckering of lips or furrowing of a brow can totally change the way that we respond emotionally to a sculpture.
“I like to imagine what it would be like to actually reach out and touch the animals that I create. We have a natural curiosity about the animals that we share the world with that draws us to them, but if we do manage to interact, they are usually such fleeting moments. I try to capture such an instant when I create a sculpture.”
Having studied anatomy, all of Sarah’s sculptures are meticulously based on accurate skull and skeletal dimensions, using hundreds of photos and the physical subjects themselves to create these stunning likenesses.
Her works at Leonardslee include the Kiss, the Faintest Whiff and Mates for Life. See if you can guess which animals the titles might refer to.
Graeme is a West Sussex-based figurative sculptor who works mainly in bronze and iron resin. Not only a gifted creator himself, he also lends his skills to other Surrey-based artists, moulding and casting work for other sculptors in the area.
He learned his craft working in the film industry producing props and models for the likes of Shepperton Studios and the Star Wars franchise. He was also part of the small team that originally set up the Legoland theme park in Windsor.
He says of his work: "I've always been creative and love seeing something that I've made give enjoyment to people, plus I secretly enjoy the mess that comes with building each project. I could never sit behind a desk!"
His life-size sculptures of In Haste and Prowling Wolves, which are now on display at Leonardslee Gardens, are a classic example of the evocative work which Graeme produces. He says, "Sculptures make a garden a bit more mysterious - I think people miss the opportunity to make their outdoor spaces interesting and fun." No danger of that with Graeme’s work in situ!