Creating something of a rus in urbe this week is Pangolin London in King’s Cross, which is carpeting its sleek white gallery interior with artificial grass, Himalayan silver birch trees, lavender bushes and passion flowers to create a faux garden complete with a selection of bronze sculptures.
The 30 sculptures on display spill out from the gallery onto the banks of Regent’s Canal and range from Michael Cooper’s furtive looking Baboon (£32,000, second picture) to Jason Wason’s delicately balanced amphora, Silent Witness (£15,000) – a tribute to the ancestor jars found on the battlefields of Afghanistan – to Lynn Chadwick’s regal angular masterpiece and one of his last monumental pieces, Sitting Couple on Bench (£1.8m, first picture).
These works are timeless classics – evocative of the great eras of garden statuary (think 16th-century Italy or 18th-century France). Take William Tucker’s Void (£43,750) or the elegantly understated totem by Ann Christopher (£76,000, third picture), which complement rather than dominate their environment.
Boulders (£66,000) by the grandfather of contemporary plein air sculpture, Peter Randall-Page, and the fantailed bronze Turning (£65,000, fourth picture) by its grand doyenne Charlotte Mayer are contrasted with exquisite works by emerging sculptors Merete Rasmussen(Convolved Form 1, £12,000) and Almuth Tebbenhoff (Tree, £12,950).
The exhibition is the brainchild of gallery director and curator Polly Bielecka, who says: “The garden is now home to both cutting-edge, artistically pioneering works as well as classical forms that hark back to the days of antiquity.” She adds: “Over the past decade there has been a marked increase in people considering the outside as much as the inside as a space for sculpture. This stems from an all-round increased interest in gardening to perceiving the garden as an extension of the home – almost like an additional room. One of the pleasures of sculpture is being able to enjoy it outdoors where it can begin a dialogue with its natural or manmade surroundings and change with differing weather conditions.”