Gardens become open-air gallery for bronze art

The Trentham Estate is already recognised for its award-winning gardens and family-friendly Fairy Trail – but visitors are now being given the opportunity to discover bronze pheasants rising from prairie planting and giant tree frogs emerging from the undergrowth.


Helping to expand Trentham’s reputation as an open-air art gallery, a new installation of bronze wildlife sculptures by artist David Meredith is set to offer a new attraction among the gardens over the next six months.


The eye-catching installation will feature a full range of Meredith’s work in several areas of the garden at a time when Mother Nature is helping to slowly transform the backdrop from a dazzling array of autumn colours, to an awe-inspiring winter garden.


Along with the pheasants and tree frogs, the new wildlife sculpture installation will also include leaping salmon, snails, tawny owls, barn owls, little owls, a large hare, horses and a deer buck and hind.


Dotted around the gardens, the sculptures are not arranged in an official trail, but a leaflet will be produced to ensure that visitors track down all of the works of art. There is also the chance to win a sculpture by the artist worth £350 by coming-up with a name for the running deer installation, with details included in the leaflet.


Smaller items of Meredith’s work are constantly on show, and for sale, in one of the shops within The Trentham Estate’s recently expanded Shopping Village – Glazed Art.


He has been sculpting professionally for more than 20 years, starting his career in the pewter, giftware and retail sectors before specialising in bronze.


“I consider myself very lucky to be doing what I do, I get a great sense of relaxation and happiness when I’m sculpting, nothing else exists in that moment,” says the artist.  “Alongside art, my other passion is the natural world.  This inspires my work in ways that nothing else can.  My love for nature has led me to travel throughout Africa, Asia and North America, all of which have helped to shape my work in both realistic and abstract ways.”


Described as the “garden make-over of the decade” by The Daily Telegraph, Staffordshire’s Trentham Gardens also took the title of the UK’s “Garden of the Year” in the annual BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards in 2015.


Among the growing number of artworks which complement the natural beauty of the Estate is a statue of Perseus, which enjoyed a starring role at the Royal Academy of Art’s exhibition entitled “Bronze” in London in 2012.


Elsewhere visitors can enjoy the perennially eye-catching Trentham Fairy Trail at any time of the year.


Earlier this year, a striking statue of Lancelot “Capability” Brown – the renowned landscape garden designer whose tercentenary has been celebrated throughout 2016 – also went on show at Trentham Gardens.  That bronze statue by sculptor Laury Dizengremel, the Artist-In-Residence for Belvoir Castle in the East Midlands, has now taken up permanent residence beside the River Thames in Hammersmith close to where Brown lived for thirteen years.


The latest art installation at Trentham also comes at a time when Stoke-on-Trent is waiting to hear whether or not it has been successful in its bid to become the 2021 UK City of Culture.


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