Cookham Sculpture Garden showcases artistic talents in private grounds

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

The Cookham Festival Sculpture Garden will showcase more than 100 eclectic sculptures at the Thames-side gardens of The Odney Club in Cookham – starting this weekend.

The fortnight-long event is running from Saturday, May 7 to Sunday, May 22, returning after a hiatus in 2021 due to COVID.

The Sculpture Garden has been running for about 10 years and will see both returning artists and those new to the Cookham Festival.

Among the 30 sculptors are some new artists on the cusp of leaving college, offering some modern sculptures alongside a more traditional range.

These will depict large and small figures of people, nature and abstracts, in a variety of media from wood, ceramics, resin, glass bronze, stone, or new and recycled steel.

Many artists are based in the Thames Valley, though it is a collection of national and international artists, some of whom are displaying work much further afield.

Pieces will range from the small and portable, suitable for any garden or patio, to dramatic creations requiring a significant space to call home.

All the sculptures, some with multiple editions, will be available to purchase. Visitors can also commission a bust of a special person or pet.

Some of the pieces will be original one-offs, valued in the hundreds of thousands of pounds, while other smaller pieces can be purchased for around £200.

Heading to the Sculpture Garden also brings the rare opportunity to explore the Odney Club gardens, not usually accessible to the public.

Visitors can wander by the herbaceous beds, topiary and specimen trees of the arboretum, or along the water’s edge admiring the creations.

“The Sculpture Garden is a way of bringing artists’ work into a central point in a brilliant setting that’s rarely open to the public,” said curator and organiser, Chris Harper.

“It’s like a National Trust property and it’s very popular when it does open.”

There will also be an exhibition of paintings in a marquee on the site, featuring around 20 paintings by a handful of artists, organised by Sarah Pye who runs Artistry gallery in Henley.

Towards the end of the Sculpture Garden’s two-week opening, Lady Aurelia Young, daughter of Oscar Nemon – famed sculptor known for his statues of Winston Churchill – will give a talk on her father and his work.

The Sculpture Gardens will be open from 10am-5pm, seven days a week until May 22. There is a £3 entry fee.

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