About half an hour drive from Central London, in Hertfordshire there lies a beautiful estate called The Grove that comprises a hotel, a beautiful spa, a championship golf course, a walled garden and a forest-there is way more to it, but you will have to visit it in person to experience the sheer beauty of that place.
A girlfriend of mine got married there (she looked completely breathtaking in The Grove’s surroundings) and apparently so did my Head Gardner ( into whom I bumped during my last visit-he was there to celebrate his first wedding anniversary with his wife) and we occasionally drive there for an easy lunch, which is always beautifully executed at the Stables restaurant followed by a walk, which is great whatever the time of the year.
Last Sunday we drove to The Grove in the afternoon because i wanted to look at the Sculpture at the Grove 2011, a curated exhibition which comprises a variety of sculptures which are nestled in the natural surroundings of the hotel.
The exhibition is curated by Virginia Grub ( I admire people who have the vision and the knowledge to put an exhibition together that looks like each sculpture actually belongs in its place and feels like it was alway there-that is a skill in itself!). I loved the sheer variety of mediums and executions of the sculptors, ranging from well-known ones by Nathalie Decoster (who is represented in the UK by my very talented and equally beautiful friend, but hey, i am not biased, as Natalie’s sculptures are also exhibited at Les Source des Caudalie in Bordeaux for example) toTeo San Jose, Lucy Unwin, Hamish Mackie (who uses the so-called ‘lost wax method’ that has been employed as far back as 2,000 BC),Dorothy Brook, Rupert Till, Dan Jones, David Macilwaine, Dick Budden-well, the list of the sculptors goes on but i think every sculptor represented there stands on his or her own merit without a doubt, so please don’t think that I am leaving someone out!
You have a choice of 3 walks:
1. Reception to Walled garden (admireDick Budden’s ‘Pear with bite’ orTeo San Jose’s ‘Fire sailor boat 4’ unusual and vivid curves).
2. The Formal Gardens ( i absolutely fell in love with Mel Fraser’s ‘Sandstone Buddha’ and Hamish Mackie’s ‘Leopard’)
3. Canal to the Stables ( Jo Burchell’s ‘Racing Lurchers’ are so vivid, they actually seem alive, just pausing for breath; Colin Rose’s ‘Red Rope Ball’ is every little boy’s dream to find when climbing trees and Louise Plant’s ‘A.F 5’ just makes you feel in awe of patience and creativity of a person who lovingly created it.)
I can honestly go on about every sculpture there because they are equally beautiful and surprising- some make you reflect, some make you smile and some you might not understand unless you are truly immersed into the art world but one thing is for sure-there is absolutely something for everyone, very young or old, a young lady or an older gentleman-you pause in the beautiful surroundings to admire the beauty of nature that compliments the sculptures and just feel very happy to just be there, in the moment.
And when you are done with admiring the nature and the work, you can enjoy the most divine buttercream panna cota with cherries and a cup of fresh mint tea that I did at the Bar, where at the time men were watching football and women kept them company or read a newspaper-a perfect way to end the weekend and be ready for the week ahead.
Sculpture at The Grove runs until August 31st