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Venus Has Landed at Chiswick House
A newly carved copy of the Medici Venus statue has been fixed on top of the empty Doric column in Chiswick House Gardens.
Chiswick House Friends celebrated a high spot in their Silver Jubilee year yesterday (Monday 21 September)when a newly carved copy of the Medici Venus statue was fixed on top of the empty Doric column in Chiswick House gardens. The well-known sculptor Andrian Melka was commissioned to carve the statue with the support of English Heritage.
The Friends decided to fund a new statue for the empty column and support the re-planting of the rose garden where the column stands following the launch of the restoration of the gardens project. (The £12.1m project is backed by £7.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund)
The existence of a statue at this focal point of the gardens was first recorded in 1728. The column was later surrounded by a rose garden. At some point the statue disappeared. Over the years the rose garden was suppressed, re-planted, fell into decline and is now being restored with support from the Chiswick House Friends.
Andrian Melka started work in March on a 1.6-ton block of Portland stone. He finished in August. The statue could have been reproduced by mechanical means out of synthetic materials. The Friends felt that this would have been unworthy of a Grade 1 project, and out of keeping with Lord Burlington’s standards of excellence. They also saw it as an important chance to encourage traditional skills.
George Nissen, Chairman of the Chiswick House Friends comments, 'We are immensely proud to be making our own special mark on the restoration project. I hope that the new statue of Venus will be a landmark symbol for the Friends, and will encourage everyone in our future efforts for these much-loved Gardens and House.'
Dr Jeremy Ashbee, Head Properties Curator at English Heritage said, 'Venus on her column was one of the highlights of the gardens at Chiswick, and it is wonderful to see in reality the view that we only know from illustrations from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Andrian Melka has produced a superb new sculpture and English Heritage, as part of the Chiswick House and Grounds Trust, is delighted to have worked with him and the Chiswick House Friends in bringing this project to fruition.'
The Friends welcomed the new Venus with a toast at their annual CHF Party on 21 September 2009.
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