Art in the park

Art in the park

Each sculpture further develops the park and allows visitors to enjoy art in the great outdoors. Come and explore for a chance to catch a glimpse of the following pieces.

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Ancestor

Ancestor

Title  Ancestor
Artist  Helena Stykianides
Location Waltham Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey 

In 1992, this piece, representing an Augustinian Canon was carved from a nine foot tree trunk from Epping Forest, donated by the Corporation of London.

The figure is depicted wearing a working habit, on the back of which are a series of shallow, shadowy images arranged hierarchically from the bottom up.

The artist explains “A double snake writhes around his heel, a symbol of original sin; the grimacing head conveys agony and pain; the winged lion is a fantasy creature, a symbol of transformation and change; the face above it is a frightening mask with sharp teeth and bulging eyes; a monkey clings to humankind as a reminder that man is descended from the apes, our wild ancestirs directly linked to the earth; victorious over all emerges the skull, a symbol of death and physical mortality of all livings things. In his quest for spirit, the Canon has turned his back on the things he fears; earthly things, weakness and sin. Yet his stance is meditative and humble. If he can own the aspects he is at pain to ignore, then he can move towards integration and harmony".

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Living Fragments

Living Fragments

Title  Living Fragments
Artist  Imogen Ward
Location Waltham Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey

The story of Waltham Abbey unfolds in its walls, but it is below ground that its real heritage lies. It is around these two elements – architecture and archaeology, that the work is based, as a means of celebrating human activity on this site. The sculpture is in clay; a material used traditionally for building, but which also refers to the earth in which our history is buried.

The chevron or v shaped patterns, which form the principle structure of the work derive from carvings in the pillars of the existing Abbey Church.

Also shown are some of the more humble domestic objects found on the site. They have been cast and embedded into the clay surface or pressed into the clay to leave imprints, whilst others have been screen printed onto the surface.

The textures and colours were chosen to be akin to the location and blend in with the surroundings. It is hoped the work will provide an element or surprise to the viewer, offering a different interpretation of the site and enhancing the contemplative atmosphere of the Rose Garden, where it was installed in 1992.

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Meridian Gateway

Meridian Gateway

Title  Meridian Gateway
Artist  Jon Mills
Location Waltham Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey

The brightly coloured gate, produced in 1995, is made of mild steel and weighs an estimated 160 kilos. The work stands on 0 degrees longitude, the Greenwich Meridian and draws attention to the fact that this invisible line, still important for worldwide navigation, bisects the town of Waltham Abbey.

Two pillars frame the gateway and support a 2.5 metre arch, speckled with star and sun motifs. The panels of the gate link a sextant and a crescent moon, representing time-honoured methods of timekeeping and navigation. It appears at once strudy, delicate and playful and creates a bold contrast to the surrounding vegetation and the weathered ancient walls.

The Meridian Gateway offers a transition point between a number of borders – at its simplest it provides an entry point into the Rose Gardens; historically marks the edge of the monastic precinct of the Augustinian Abbey and conceptually it creates a point of access between east and west.

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Nature Entwined

Nature Entwined

Title  Nature Entwined
Artist  Heather Burrell
Location Waltham Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey

Forged out of mild steel, Heather Burrell’s work comproses of fern like sculptures on flintstone bases, either side of the footpath leading to a pedestrian subway and a rambling “clematis” across the entrance. The subway links the heritage of the Abbey Gardens with the open space of the Cornmill Meadows beyond.

Metal work has long been associated with the site. A forge was associated with the Abbey from 1200AD to about 60 years after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. It produced all the items for the Augustinian Abbey and its farm “The Grange.” The process of shaping metal has hardly changed over the years. The work was installed in 1998.

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Travel and Discovery

Travel and Discovery

Title  Travel and Discovery
Artist  Paula Haughney
Location Cornmill Meadows, Waltham Abbey

Paula Haughney was commissioned in September 1993 to carve two granite blocks on the Greenwich Meridian Line at Waltham Abbey. The granite, originally from Dartmoor, was once part of the base of Rennies London Bridge, demolished in 1968. More recently, the blocks had been lying on the 0 degrees longitude line in the Cornmill Meadows.

The stones were moved into the Abbey Gardens to be worked, as this was more practical for the artist and provided as opportunity for local residents and visitors to see the progress of the work. They were then installed, about half a mile apart, on the north and south end of the Meridian Walk in Cornmill Meadows, in 1994.

Ideas for the imagery were suggested by the locality and the Merdian Line itself, with its association with time, distance, global connections and travel. Carved navigational instruments on a tomb in the Abbey Church also contributed to the overall design.

Pupils from King Harold School and residents from Woodredon House designed and helped Paula with the construction of the base around the stones. These continue the theme of the carving.

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Phoenix hide

Phoenix hide

Title Phoenix hide
Artist Anita Rivera
Location Hall Marsh Scrape, River Lee Country Park

The phoenix hide was created in 2005 for Hall Marsh Scrape in Rive Lee Country Park and is made out of galvanized steel which reflects the sky and surrounding area. Anita Rivera had an interest in the migration of birds and was interested in creating a sculpture that would give access to disabled birders and children.  The wings of the sculpture provide accessible viewing heights with good range. 

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Illumination

Illumination

Title Illumination
Artist Anita Rivera
Location Waltham Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey

Inspiration for the design of Illumination was drawn from the rose window within the Abbey Church. Students from King Harold’s School collaborated with the artist to design and produce the logos. The metalwork inscription features an Old English Rose design which was created by a student.

Natural play

Title Natural Play
Artist Treesculpture
Location Adjacent to Pindar car park

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