Sudeley Castle is known for its art installations and patronage of the arts. (Did you know that much of the Tate Gallery collection was kept at Sudeley during WWII? Apparently having all those masterpieces stacked around in the living room enhanced a bone-deep appreciation for art in the family bloodline.) On a recent walk through the gardens, I was struck by the many fantastical man-made figures who walk the Sudeley gardens along with the many tourists and guests.
A sunbather in the pond between the tithe barn and the Castle.
A flowering chair awaits beneath a tithe barn arch.
I have no idea if these are meant to be art or not, but they caught my attention and made me think romantical thoughts — good enough for me.
Oh, dear, heads in the garden again.
A winged messenger, near the dungeon tower. I wonder if he is coming to set someone free — or put them away.
A young woman with a gown of metal lace emerges from the trees.
A mosaic sword in the knot garden.
An I’m-not-sure who in a courtyard overlooked by the ruins of the old state apartments — where Henry VIII and Elizabeth I would have walked — which were destroyed by Cromwell.
Katherine Parr would have walked this path from her private apartments to her private pew in St. Mary’s church (where she is now buried). She was attended then in life by Lady Jane Grey — and now in immortality she walks and reads from her prayer book as a hedge figure, followed by a smaller Lady Jane Hedge.
Here is Lady Jane in one of the many stained-glass portraits in the fifteenth century St. Mary’s Church. (More photos from a previous visit to the Church here: Sudeley snapshots: Kathering Parr)
Here also in the Church, a temporary modern exhibit of photographs of wax figures created based on original paintings — here Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn. These are from Hiroshi Sugimoto‘s “Portraits” series commissioned by the Guggenheim in Berlin, and they are intriguingly, fascinatingly lifelike — except for the hands, which look all wrong.
The name of this work was lost in the flowers. No, I don’t mean that was the name, the name was written down on a placard which was buried under flowers. Kind of beautiful to have the man-made art mixed in so closely with the natural blooms.
He may be hard to spot, but I promise there is a charming putto hiding inbetween the flowers of the Secret Garden.
Lady bathers, taking their metal lives into their own hands if they are going out on that bright boat (it’s full of water).
Another bibliophile hedge lady in a quiet garden near the tithe barn.
At the visitors’ entrance, a life-sized figure of Katherine Parr, holding the Rosa Mundi — a striped rose showing the colors of York white and Lancaster red — the Tudor Rose.
All these figures at Sudeley enhance my appreciation for the hundreds of years of human action that still feel alive at the castle, and the many characters who strolled these same paths in flesh and blood, leaving behind their footprints in history — and nature.