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National Trust News: A Host Of Angels

"A host of angels has taken up residence in the historic gardens of the National Trust's Mottisfont in Hampshire as part of a unique Christmas sculpture trail,'' announces Jeannette Heard.

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 pieces are new commissions created specially for the project which opens today.

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 says: "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.

The Angel Garden at Mottisfont is open every day from 2 December 2011 - 2 January 2012, 10am until dusk, free after normal admission charge. (Please note that the property is closed from 20-25 January 2012.)


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