STATUARY IN THE GARDEN
The Italians were the pioneers of garden statuary and figures, and they showed their ability in this as in other forms of Art. In Italy most of the figures were in marble, but this material is not suitable for our country and stone or lead are better mediums for construction.
An original design is usually very expensive, but quite charming figures may be procured very cheaply owing to mass-production. These figures portray many types, some, like Pan, are bright and jolly, some are just beautiful, and others grotesque. These last do find their place in gardens, but for the most part they give less lasting pleasure to those who live with them than do those expressing gaiety, life, or meditation.
Lead figures “weather” beautifully, taking on a very lovely hue, and of course never wear away. Artificial stone ones, however, although they often become coloured, sometimes flake badly. An assurance from the maker that a figure will not disintegrate is usually sufficient to dispel the purchaser’s fears upon this score.
When choosing a garden figure, consider the site it is to occupy and try to decide on the size and style best suited to the position. You should know before entering the shop, or consulting the catalogue, exactly what tj’pe of figure you require; what mood it is to express. Haphazard choosing is fatal. Again, a figure should always be placed for some purpose—to provide a focal point in a design, as a foil against a contrasting background, or at the end of a vista, to arrest the eye.