Cotswold Sculpture Park near South Cerney is a beautiful and unique outdoor gallery, displaying over 200 sculptures to see and buy for its 2022 season.
SoGlos spoke to Cotswold Sculpture Park to find out what’s new for 2022, which sculptures to look out for – and how to make a purchase, if you find yourself falling in love…
About the expert – Tadd Hartland from Cotswold Sculpture Park
Tadd Hartland is the sales manager at Cotswold Sculpture Park. He works closely with customers to find the perfect piece of art for their space and is responsible for selling over 800 beautiful outdoor sculptures in the last three years.
Cotswold Sculpture Park is run by Hartland and his father, with the duo curating an exciting collection of art each year.
The park reopened for the 2022 season on Friday 1 April 2022.
Cotswold Sculpture Park reopens for the 2022 season this April – what’s new this year?
A lot is new! We have over 200 sculptures on display at the park this season, with over 80 per cent of the work being new and never seen by our visitors. Of the brand-new sculptures, many are the very first edition of that particular piece.
We have an extremely exciting piece this season – a bronze polar bear named Boris, by famous wildlife sculptor Adam Binder. ‘Boris’ is a life size copy of the world’s largest polar bear – it is a giant! Weighing in at 1.5 tonnes, it is the heaviest piece at the park this year and took a lot of machinery to get it in place. ‘Boris’ was famously shown at London Zoo in its early years.
There are a lot of new artists to the park this season, too. Every year, we try to recruit new faces and I am very happy with who we have managed to bring in. We have at least 12 new artists in a list of 71 named artists.
One artist who is fairly new and exhibiting for the first time with us this season is Anna Campbell, who is showing two beautiful bronzes. Another artist who is new to the park this season but not to the art world is New Zealand artist Dawn Conn, who sells very well with her lovely figurative characters in bronze and resins.
Another new event we are hosting is local artist Adele Riley as an artist in residence, alongside a solo exhibition in our gallery space.
Are there any returning favourites from previous years, or iconic pieces to look out for?
There are some returning favourites! Last season, we had ‘Large Stargazers Ring’ by Tanya Russell at the park, but as it was so popular, it was purchased in the first month of showing. We then brought in the next edition of ‘Large Stargazers Ring’, which again sold within a month! This was a full-sized bronze priced at over £20,000.
There are many visitor favourites to see at the park, including the work of my father –founder of the park and creator of many brilliant sculptures.
As well as this, there is the previously mentioned piece, ‘Boris’ the giant Polar Bear by Adam Binder, which is new for this season.
Cotswold Sculpture Park is a very unique gallery space – what makes it such a special place to exhibit artwork?
We pride ourselves on being a very organic and relaxed gallery. We provide a professional service in a very friendly setting, having made friends with many of our art buyers over the years – as well as our artists!
We are a father-son team and really enjoy being able to give artists a beautiful space to show their work. My dad likes saying, ‘we provide the canvas and the artists provide the wonderful art!’.
The gardens are 10 acres and we show over 200 sculptures each season, from seriously talented artists. We take a considerable amount of time choosing who to feature and where each sculpture will look its best.
We also sell very well every season, which is really important to keeping the best quality artists interested in showing with us year after year. Last season was record-breaking for us, selling over 400 outdoor sculptures and many more interior pieces too. We work on a smaller budget than a lot of other galleries, but we have managed to advertise well and create a good business, which art buyers are happy to return to.
How do you curate the pieces on display each season?
When my father created the park, he had a difficult job of going out and sourcing the artists, with many worried about getting involved as he was new to the scene. Six years on, we no longer need to go after artists, as we have such a large number of wonderful sculptors contacting us wanting to get involved! Saying that, I do still spend a lot of time looking for fresh, new work for the coming seasons.
We work with the artists to decide which of their sculptures works well for each position. After the sculpture has been delivered, dad and I have a walk around the park and find the best installation spot for the sculpture. We very often place something twice, or even three times, trying to find the best place for it! It’s really important to get the placement right for our visitors to enjoy and also for our artists who have spent so much of their time, love and money on the sculptures.
Are there any trends in sculpture which you’re seeing for the 2022 season? Are there any common themes in the artists’ work?
Figurative sculptures are having a very good run in the art world at the moment and are proving to be very popular with our buyers. Bronze sculptures have also seen a very rapid growth in sales in the last few years. We believe that the original lockdown had a part to play in this, with so many people spending more time in their homes and working on their own spaces. Interior sculptures have also become very popular in London homes with smaller garden spaces.
We try to get a good mixture of figurative and abstract sculptures, as we have all sorts of buyers looking to purchase completely different designs! Carrara marbles have also been popular, adding beautiful colours to different gardens.
What is your favourite piece in this year’s collection?
A very difficult question! There are so many strong candidates this season. ‘Boris’ the polar bear is an obvious candidate and I have fallen in love with its smaller version, which is available to buy – and the very last edition, which makes it even more special.
I think Jenny Pickford’s incredible ‘Large Agapanthus’ will be extremely popular with our visitors this season, so that could be a favourite!
Though I think I would have to agree with the 2021 version of myself, and say the ‘Large Stargazers Ring’ is my absolute favourite!
As well as viewing the artwork, visitors can also buy the sculptures at Cotswold Sculpture Park – how can people go about making a purchase?
We try to make buying sculptures as easy as possible. It is my job to work with the customers on sales and it is a job I absolutely love. I often tell customers that it is the best job in the world! We are delighted to sell a sculpture for our artists. The artist is extremely happy to get a sale, knowing that their work has been appreciated and the buyer is delighted to have a new piece for their collection. It is a win-win for everyone involved and always a pleasure to be a part of.
Buying sculptures with an edition is as simple as putting down a deposit on the piece; we then converse with the artist to start creating the buyer their very own edition of that sculpture. With bronzes, the artist often includes a certificate of authenticity, too.
The most common average wait time for a new piece is five weeks. We are happy for the sculpture to be delivered, or for the visitor to collect it from the park and enjoy another walk around! We are always happy to see the buyer again and hand over their very own piece.
A lot of the sculptures are one-offs or unique pieces, which we can either let go of on the day and let the buyer take away after payment, or we will arrange a later date for delivery or collection – this gives us enough time to arrange to get another sculpture for the place left vacant from the sold sculpture. Selling sculpture regularly allows us to change pieces throughout the season and keep the park fresh for season ticket holders.
What kind of price range can buyers expect at Cotswold Sculpture Park? Are the larger sculptures more expensive, or is it all dependent on the individual artist?
There are a lot of factors that make a sculpture more or less expensive. A good example of this are foundry bronze sculptures and ‘bronze resins’, or cold casts, which are a lot cheaper than a full bronze. Some collectors like to go for the heavy bronzes, which are often of a smaller edition number, others are happy with a bronze resin that is both cheaper and a lot lighter than the bronze. A bronze resin is made up of bronze powder mixed with a resin and fibreglass to create a very detailed sculpture that will last a very long time, but not quite as long as bronze. After all, the oldest sculpture in the world is a bronze and bronze was the first alloy invented in history.
An artist’s name is always a factor for more expensive pieces, just like in the 2D art world. Many new artists will price their first pieces lower to get their name out there and get the ball rolling on editions.
Larger sculptures are often more expensive, as they tend to take more time and work to create, but this isn’t always the case. We have small handheld sculptures in our gallery space which have a much greater value than some of the larger outdoor pieces.
Why should people consider investing in original artwork for their home or garden?
The main reason is that a sculpture will simply and powerfully enhance any space that it is installed in and therefore give the buyers a lot of joy, which they can share with their friends and family. Recurring art buyers are often excited to tell me how their friends have reacted to their latest purchase!
I sell a lot of sculptures to people who are buying them as gifts for loved ones. I may be biased, but I couldn’t think of a better gift to receive. A sculpture is a gift that will last a lifetime and give never ending joy to the recipient. It’s a present that will evoke emotion for a lifetime – how many other gifts could do that?
Sculptures can create such powerful emotions that I have had buyers purchase pieces for their own self development and to find relaxation in an otherwise busy world. One buyer, who I won’t forget, purchased a sculpture to remember a loved one who had sadly passed away, returned to the park a couple of months later to have another walk around and told me that the piece had given her inner peace, which was really lovely to hear.
European art is also becoming a strong investment, especially with bronze sculptures. The price of bronze has gone up three times since I started selling it!
When is Cotswold Sculpture Park open to visitors and potential buyers?
Cotswold Sculpture Park is open from Friday 1 April to Friday 30 September 2022 for a six-month-long exhibition.
We are open from Thursday to Monday from 10.30am to 4.30pm, but are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and tickets cost £7.