CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE FULMER is set among 13 acres of beautiful private gardens in the Buckinghamshire village of Fulmer. The gardens were originally laid out between 1890 and 1925 by Sir Harry Legge, a personal aide-de-camp to both Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. During this period the gardens were often visited by members of the Royal Family – including Queen Victoria herself – who would ‘plant’ rare or exotic sample trees in the gardens to mark their visits. Many of these can still be found in the now mature gardens, some marked with plaques indicating who planted them. Simon Linington has taken these plaques as the starting point for his site specific installation In Public View: graffiti seen on my walk to the studio 2015-2017which visitors will discover on their walk around the gardens.
Like Linington, many of the artists in the exhibition were inspired to create ambitious new works after visiting the gardens in advance. James Balmforth’s monumental Diverter– which stands at a convergence of paths at the centre of gardens – is his largest and most ambitious work to date, further developing the new sculptural techniques that he is pioneering. Amy Stephens has installed a series of three freestanding forms designed to frame and draw your attention to different elements within the gardens as you walk around and past them. Their title, The Guards, alludes to the gardens’ historical royal connection and imagines perhaps a royal guard admiring the new gardens. David Murphy has revisited and enlarged an earlier series of works, choosing this time to make them from lengths of brass to make the most of the shifting light and shade cast by the tree canopy above. The brass, left untreated, will also change across the seasons developing a natural patina, a trace of Fulmer Gardens that will remain a part of the artwork.