Contemporary sculpture in an historic setting. On entering the sculpture garden visitors are welcomed by a mixed array of trees and shrubs for all seasons, many framed with an evergreen backdrop of common laurel. These shrubs form a major structural element within the gardens, forming archways and external rooms where discreetly hidden sculptures can be found.
Following the bark and mown pathways around the sculpture garden, you pass many different species of trees, many of them planted when the site was cleared of brambles and weeds in 1995; these, along with additional seasonal exhibitions of contemporary sculpture, make the perfect surroundings for a relaxing stroll.
Annual exhibitions of sculptures run from April to October along with permanent pieces, which can be viewed all the year round, including the grass maze designed by Peter Randall Page which gives fun to both young and old.
2019 Sculpture Exhibition
‘Form and Function’
In 2019 the gardens at Burghley have become the grounds for a debate between Form and Function. A conversation between the needs of purpose and the liberation of pure geometry, spoken Through the language of sculpture. Some of this year’s sculptors have challenged the notion of usefulness by distorting scale beyond expectation.
Excitingly, this aspect to the show’s theme has permitted some super-sized sculptures. Foremost amongst these is Owen Bullett’s Garland Necklace, which is reminiscent of a floral garland, albeit on a humungous 5m scale. His gigantic sculpture introduces a welcome flourish of colour to the gardens.
A second oversize sculpture comes with a gargantuan slice through the trees. The impact of Richard Bett’s Weald Seax: Woodland Sword is heightened by the scale of its host tree. An Arthurian legend ripped from the stone and propped against a tree, it waits, ready for the next battle.
Rather than scaling functional objects up or down, some artists have favoured truth to scale. Even so, Down Two Earth by Hex is by far the largest sculpture in the show. A life-size depiction of a German World War II Junker 87, Down Two Earth is anatomically correct but materially divergent. In contrast to the aluminium, mild steel and titanium alloy original, Hex chose to construct his Stuka dive-bomber entirely from stainless steel to create a gleaming vision; its kit-like construction of parts delineated by welded seams and ground spot-welds.
To discover all of this year’s exciting exhibits, you can book your tickets for the Sculpture Garden on our Ticketing Page.