The Sculpture at Burtown House

A visit to Burtown House and gardens is a delight in itself, but so much more awaits to be discovered .. this is the garden of generations of artists after all.

Butown June 14 386


On our stroll down the avenue to the house, I spied a delightful garden swing, nostalgic and appealing in the shade of the tree.

The Swing, Sasha Sykes. Burtown

The Swing. Sasha Sykes

On closer inspection, this proved to be an installation by Sasha Sykes, with an allusion to both Fragonard’s fanciful “The Swing”, the rococo masterpiece in the Wallace Collection, and John Wilkes’ “Essay on Women”. More surprises and delights awaited us throughout the garden.

Dotted around the romantic planting are fine pieces of sculpture, some part of the permanent collection, adding interest and amusement

Terra Firma, Catherine Greene Burtown

Terra Firma. Catherine Greene.

… or drawing one on to explore.

Viewfinder. Eileen MacDonagh

Viewfinder. Eileen MacDonagh

And exploration is a must. Skirting the meadows, one could almost miss Catherine Greene’s fabulous ‘Blue Moon’ figures, who seem to inhabit another surreal world.


Blue moon iii. Catherine Greene.

Blue moon iii. Catherine Greene.

Sinister yet appealing, raising their heads to howl at the moon.

Blue moon.

Blue Moon

In the great meadow,at the front of the house, with its ancient trees, mown paths lead one on to explore the intriguing glimpses of monumental sculptures just visible above the tall grass. These are the stone sculptures of Eileen MacDonagh.

Windows. Eileen MacDonagh

Windows. Eileen MacDonagh


Burtown House Sculpture

This is ‘Coredrill Testbed’, apparently a tune can be played by tapping on the holes. The notes attached remind us that it was an Irish coredrill which was the first to reach the trapped Chilean miners in 2010.

And on through the meadow, glimpses ahead of more sculpture, the reward is a lovely view back to admire the front of the house.

Burtown House and garden

I loved the tactile polished pink granite, ‘Longstone’, the 3 metre high ‘Ogham Stones’, so called as the drillmarks refer back to our ancient Ogham script.

But if I could parcel up and take any of these home with me, it would be the marvellous ‘From Another Constellation’, massive colourful icosahedrons cast on the grass like the knucklebones of an alien or giant.

From Another Constellation. Eileen MacDonagh

From Another Constellation. Eileen MacDonagh

The shape is made up of 20 equilateral triangles, all dependent on the accuracy of each other. As one of the Platonic five solids, icosahedrons are said to symbolise balance and harmony.

And they’re great fun too!

The sculpture at Burtown House

There is much we can learn about the use of sculpture at Burtown House:

  • Creates a focal point
  • Introduces an element of surprise
  • Adds something unique
  • Draws the eye through the garden
  • Encourages exploration
  • Creates definition throughout the year
  • Adds interest and a talking point.

It doesn’t have to be expensive nor monumental – just something you love and fits the scale of your plot.




16 thoughts on “The Sculpture at Burtown House

  1. We went there too – just found your blog post doing a search for them on twitter. Visited there today, your photos are fab. We all had a go on the swing – Kate wondered what procreation meant! (written underneath it!)
    Fabulous weather for a stroll around, lovely sense of space in the gardens too.


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