South African artist Anton Smit's sculptures at the new sculpture park at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens in Lower Beeding. Picture: Justin Lewis

Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens launches new sculpture park - in pictures

Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens is launching a new sculpture park with a major exhibition of work by the celebrated South African artist Anton Smit.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 2:21 pm

Called The Walk of Life, it features more than 80 sculptures – the largest being Faith, a seven-metre high figure located next to the Lower Beeding estate’s Italianate mansion.

Leonardslee owner, Penny Streeter OBE, said: “With its woodlands and lakes, the grounds at Leonardslee are the perfect setting for displaying sculpture, and we are delighted to have an artist of Anton’s stature for our opening show.

“The creation of the sculpture park is a further commitment by our family to this very special place, and we are looking forward to welcoming presentations by other artists in the coming years.”

The exhibition – which will have all 80 sculptures in place by Thursday, September 16 – will also see Smit’s signature colossal heads, female forms and warriors arranged around the estate’s 240-acre, Grade 1-listed grounds and gardens.

Smit’s sculptures are notable for their illusion of movement or gesture. A poet as well as an artist, he offers further meaning to the works with verse of his own and others, including Thomas Hardy and William Carlos Williams, which are featured alongside the sculptures.

Of his work, he says: “It is driven by faith; the spiritual essence of every piece is an answer to that inner call.”

The Walk for Life can be viewed seven days a week and is included in the entrance fee for Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens The works are also available for purchase.

The Surrey Sculpture Society will also launch their summer exhibition at the location on Friday, July 30 and it will run until Sunday, September 5.

Visitors will be able to discover over 80 diverse sculptures strategically located within the Grade 1 listed garden created by both established and emerging artists in a wide range of materials including bronze, resin, glass, metal, wood, stone, ceramic and found objects.

For more information about Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, which re-opened to the public in 2019 after a closure of seven years, visit www.leonardsleegardens.co.uk

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