Garden Statuary, Castletown House

This project was awarded Award in the Craftsmanship category at the Natural Stone Awards 2004.

The official guide said, 'Statuary, fountains, vases and benches were all required for this private house in Ireland. The project was divided into separate phases, with the first shipment of classical statuary, cases and plinths being installed in spring 2002.

The statuary has been designed to sit sympathetically in the grounds of the house, a large 18th century mansion, exquisitely detailed in grey Kilkenny limestone and buff sandstone. The gardens have been freshly laid out to a new design by lady Salisbury of Hatfield House, incorporating parterres and knot gardens, avenues, vistas and clipped hedges, all carefully integrated with the statuary of the carving project.

A great deal of consideration went into the design of the sculptures, which can be divided into three stages: the creation of the ideas in clay; the making of the plaster cast; the cutting of the stone. After an initial thematic outline, sketches and more finished scale drawings were produced and adjusted as required by the clients and their agents. For the figures, small wax models were made and then full size clay models, with further refinements and resolution of the figures at each stage.

Once the models were finished they had to be made into a more robust form to last the duration of the carving, so a plaster case was produced from the clay model. Only then does the cutting of the stone begin, using the plaster cast to take measurements.

Portland stone was delivered from Albion Stone to Cliveden's workshop in blocks weighing up to four tonnes. These were pared down to one-one statues, first using diamond cutters, then large pneumatic chisels, and finally fine claw tools and hand carving chisels.

The methodical approach allows for refinements and adjustments to be made at each stage, which is reflected i the outstanding quality of the finished pieces.'

The judges commented, 'The more we inspected this project the more we realised how much detail had been included. This is a beautiful collection of carved figures which greatly enhances the setting. All items are beautifully executed with great attention to detail.'

Garden Statuary Statute using Portland Stone