Sculpture in the Garden
During the daytime I work about 9 miles outside Swindon on the edge of a lovely little Oxfordshire village. The type of village which forms a string of villages all joined by a winding road that’s a joy to bumble along on on a nice spring/summer/autumn day. It’s along this road that I see a beautiful white house, next to the village pub, with a lovely garden full of interesting looking sculptures. I’ve often longed to stop and have a wander and have wondered about the people that lived there. You can imagine my delight when I saw that the garden and sculpture studio was going to be open as part of the Swindon Open Studios, and I could meet the owner and sculptor Pat Elmore and have that longed for wander around the garden.
Nutford Lodge, next to the King and Queen pub in Longcot, boasts glorious views over the Uffington White Horse. It is home to Pat Elmore and her husband Pete. Whilst the one-and-a-half acre gardens are the gorgeous setting of around 100 of Pat’s stone, wood, ceramic and resin stone cast sculpture collection.
Pat’s studio is located in a specially created conservatory workshop, which has lovely lighting, making it ideal for working in regardless of the weather. She also has restored a brick out-building which she uses to create larger pieces and to hold sculpting courses.
Pat initially started carving, in the mid-1970s, using discarded Elm. Now shes works with different types of wood, stone and clay, carving a variety of different objects. Some of the work gets cast in bronze and is available as limited editions. She’s also a very keen painter and loves to create caricatures.
Her style of sculpting takes many forms; Geometric shapes, athletic figures, horses, sheep, figurative semi-abstract and abstract forms. As you would expect, Pat’s work is of the highest standard. She has had exhibitions in London, Paris, Monaco and Jersey as well as throughout the UK.
The gardens have a nice, relaxed feel about them. Nothing is too fussy but is not over-grown. There are number of slightly raised beds for the fruit vegetables, I was especially excited to see the yellow raspberries. I used to enjoy them as a special treat at my Grandma’s when I was little. There is an orchard and specially planted hazelnut bushes. A grassy mound for a better view of the White Horse. Plenty of trees and a large natural pond. All of this plays it’s part forming the backdrop of Pat’s sculptures.
Shame about the wind and rain on the day I visited, but that didn’t dampen Pat’s enthusiasm on my guided tour, nor did it deter the cat who accompanied us.
Visitors to Longcot, just a little detour off the A420, will not only be able to visit Pat but also 2 other sculptors, Emma Ablitt and Sharon Rich, who will also have their studios open.