One ingenious way to bring stories into the garden setting is through statuary. Vizcaya, the original estate of agricultural industrial great James Derring exemplifies the beauty and fun that can be displayed within a wanderers garden. Deering and his creative designer Paul Chalfin spent much of Derring’s fortune on the acquisition of grand antiuqes during trips to Europe and beyond. The house and gardens hold one of the finest collection of antiques in the world.
As the property began to come together Deering worked with Chalfin to buy statuary specifically for the gardens. It was Landscape architect Diego Suarez, however that created the actual designs of the gardens which incorporated the antiquities for the garden brought home by Chaifin. According to Vizcaya, “Suarez and Chalfin worked for seven years, perfecting the design of the gardens as one vast outdoor room with the elements serving as complementary parts of an integrated area.”
Although sculptures and statues are nearly everywhere around the property, there are several main garden areas that bring historic themes into the setting through the use of statuary. They include the West Statuary Walk, the Sculpture Garden and the Theater Garden.
The West Statuary walk allows mythological divinities to grace the gardens. This Stone Leda and the Swan is French from the 18th Century. It depicts the famous encounter when Zeus came to her in the form of a swan.
The stone, 17th Century, Italian Adonis is a ancient god figure that symbolizes the impact of the hot Summer heat that enveloped vegetation. He also represents the rebirth of that vegetation and the never ending cycle.
This stone Winter, was sculpted in the 18th Century, Venice.
The Theater Garden uses a more modern literary theme. Here a Shepherd and Shepherdess oversee the garden. According to Vizcaya, they are made of made of metal and cast lead and are English 18th Century, romantic pastoral style.
Also adorning this lovely garden area are Punchinello and Harlequin, also English 18th Century and made of lead.
According to Vizcaya, this Frog Fountain if actually and Italian late 18th Century basin made of white Italian marble and stone. The lead frog and lizzard waterspouts that adron form the sides were created by sculptor Charles Cary Rumsey.
The Maze Garden Walk reveals a white marble Sphinx, created in France, Vizcaya explains the Sphinx displays a, “figure with female head including lion’s paws and tail and an elaborate head dress with stylized flower in the center and a lace bodice ornamented with beads.”
There are numerous statues along the circumfrence of the Fountain Garden including an Italian, 17th Century Minerva: Goddess of Wisdom, Poetry, Economy among other things. She was also the goddess of war and thus wears a warriors helmet.
The Fountain garden also hosts Flora, goddess of Spring and flora. She is also Italian, 17th century stone.
There is also this Italian, 18th Century sculpture of Contadino.
There are many more sculptures here. Another, future visit to the others is sure to follow. Vizcaya was with out a doubt one of the great highlights of The Photo Garden Bee tour of 09. I highly recommend a visit. For more information on Vizcaya visit: http://www.vizcayamuseum.org for previous Vizcaya features on The Photo Garden Bee visit here.
I am off to put together some 300 mats for my Daily Flower prints. I’ll be selling them at the Mid-Atlantic Home and Flower Show this weekend in the Virginia Beach Convention Center. I’ll be at booth #304. Stop by!
Britt : )