The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden



Ahead of winter, I wanted to take advantage of the mild autumn weather before the cold sets in. After an awe-inspiring trip to Dungeness, I was ready for another mini adventure, and I chose to visit The Hannah Peschar sculpture garden in Surrey before it closed for the winter season.

I have never heard of this garden until recently, and the images I saw online intrigued me immensely. I thought a few miles walk via the public footpath from Ockley station would be quite straight forward, but I was wrong – the first part through the woods was fine, then I got lost in the open field and somehow went off track.








I eventually ended up at The Cricketers Arms, a Grade II listed traditional pub circa 1450 in Ockley. I love the large inglenook fireplace and oak beams, and decided to have lunch here. The friendly staff gave me some directions towards the garden before I set off again.




By the time I reached the office of the sculpture garden, I was already feeling a bit tired. The friendly curator Vikki was surprised to learn that I walked all the way from the station (I guess not many visitors would do that) and offered to give me a lift back before my train’s departure time. Her warmth and kindness immediately made me feel that this garden is not an ordinary one.


 hannah Peschar sculpture park


hannah peschar


This special garden used to be part of a large estate, laid out between 1915 and 1920. Later it was split up and sold in several lots, and the garden fell into decline after the estate was sold. In 1983, art curator Hannah Peschar bought the ten-acre land, which included a grade II listed 15th Century cottage and a large water and rock garden. The garden was subsequently redesigned and replanted by her husband, the award-winning landscape designer Anthony Paul, who introduced many large-leaved plants in bold groups, tall grasses and created 3 new ponds. Over the past 30+ years, the garden has grown from a handful of sculptures to over 200 pieces exhibited every year, featuring artists from the U.K. and Europe.


hannah peschar

hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park



Later, I learnt from Vikki that her mentor Hannah Peschar decided to step back from her role two years ago, and now the garden is run and curated by her and Anthony Paul. Though Peschar still resides in the lovely ancient cottage, and her husband also has a landscape design office within the garden.




hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park


Unlike the Yorkshire sculpture park, most of the art works here are available for sale and all visitors are given a map with the list of work and prices upon arrival. The vast array of work varies from figurative to highly abstract, using both traditional and innovative materials. All the sculptures here are placed heedfully so that they would blend harmoniously with nature and other works within the garden.

The garden looked beautiful in spite of the drizzly and misty weather; I particularly love seeing the sculptures against the autumn colours. And I secretly congratulated myself for wearing the correct footwear for a change.




hannah Peschar sculpture park  autumn leaves



Since there were not many visitors during my weekday visit, I was able to enjoy the tranquility that the garden has to offer. The garden is enchanting because you never know what you would encounter as you walk along the trail. There are hidden surprises as the landscape changes; and during the few hours walking in the garden, I felt excited, inspired, intrigued, and contemplative.


hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park


hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park


hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park


Unlike the National trust or English Heritage properties, there is no cafe, picnic area nor souvenir shop here, so it feels somewhat less commercial. When almost every airport in the world has become more like a shopping mall nowadays, I found it a relief to not see a shop/cafe here (although I am sure some people would disagree with me).







When i finished the tour around the garden, Vikki said she would close the garden earlier as it was a quiet day, and we had an interesting chat about art and design as she drove me to the train station. Enviously, I told her that she is lucky to be working in such a wonderful and peaceful environment, and she agreed. She said that the garden looks different in every season and she recommends that I return again next spring/summer.

And yes, I definitely will return again – I can’t wait to see the garden in bloom!


Note: The garden will reopen on 1st April 2018.


Yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

Tony Cragg


I have long wanted to visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and my wish finally came true this summer. Like Hepworth Wakefield, the park also won the Museum of the Year award (back in 2014), and deservedly so. Sometimes high expectations may bring disappointments, but not in this case – the park is idyllic, inspiring, and full of wonderful surprises.

Celebrating its 40th birthday this year, the 500-acre park was initially instigated by an art lecturer, Peter Murray at Bretton Hall, a stately home turned further education college with a strong emphasis on fine art (which eventually closed in 2007). Sculpture park was a new idea in Britain at the time, while Storm King in the New York state had already evolved into a major art centre. Having visited both parks (see my blog post from last year here), I think they are both equally impressive, though I am slightly biased towards YSP because of the beguiling Yorkshire landscape and the historic Bretton Estate. And like Storm King, the park has been growing since the 1970s, from 200 acres to over 500 acres. Considering YSP had little funding (£1,000 grant from Yorkshire Arts) and support at the beginning, it was remarkable how it managed to become the leading open-air gallery in Britain, attracting more than 400,000 visitors each year.


yorkshire sculpture parkBlack and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness

Anthony Caro Promenade

Henry Moore: Reclining Figure: Arch Leg

Barbara Hepworth: The Family of Man

Top: Zak Ové’s Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness; 2nd row: Anthony Caro’s Promenade; 3rd row: Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure: Arch Leg; Bottom row: Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man


As I didn’t have a car, I had to rely on the infrequent bus service, which meant that my hours at the park was restricted. I could have stayed for longer if I didn’t have to catch the last bus back, so that was a slight letdown. Be prepared to spend at least 4 hours here if you want to see the major outdoor works and temporary indoor exhibitions. I was fortunate enough to see the excellent exhibition ‘Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects‘ (see photos below) before it ended, but a selection of open-air works will be on display until March 2018.


Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads

Dennis Oppenheim: Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components

Peter Randall-Page: Shapes in the Clouds III  Niki de Saint Phalle: Buddha

Sophie Ryder: Crawling

Marialuisa Tadei: Octopus

Sol Lewitt: 123454321

Top: Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads; 2nd row: Dennis Oppenheim: Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components; 3rd row left: Peter Randall-Page: Shapes in the Clouds III; 3rd right: Niki de Saint Phalle: Buddha; 4th row: Sophie Ryder: Crawling; 5th row: Marialuisa Tadei: Octopus; Bottom row: Sol Lewitt: 123454321


I was also very lucky with the weather; as we all know, the British weather is very unpredictable, so when I bought my train tickets a month earlier, I had no idea whether it would be sunny and rainy.

Sculptures aside, the park itself is also full of wonders. The Grade II listed Palladian style Bretton Hall, the pleasure grounds and parkland all date back to the 18th century, and there are several historic structures within the compound: Camellia House, St Bartholomew’s Chapel (now restored as a gallery space), Archway Lodge, the summerhouse, the Cascade Bridge and the Dam Head Bridge.


 Leo Fitzmaurice: Litter yorkshire sculpture park

Marc Quinn: Wilder Shores of Desire

yorkshire sculpture park

dam head bridge yorkshire sculpture park

yorkshire sculpture park

yorkshire sculpture park

James Capper: TREAD PAD pair 1

James Capper: TREAD PAD pair 1

Top left: Leo Fitzmaurice: Litter; 2nd row: Marc Quinn: Wilder Shores of Desire; 3rd row: Bretton Hall; 4th row: Dam Head bridge; 5th row: Greek temple: Bottom two rows: James Capper: TREAD PAD pair 1


At the far end of the park is the Longside Gallery, a contemporary space designed by Tony Fretton Architects, which hosts temporary indoor exhibitions and offers panoramic views of the park. I took a free shuttle bus from the entrance to the Gallery and then walked back through the woodlands, which enabled me to enjoy some spectacular views of the nearby landscape, as well as seeing some unusual ‘camouflaged’ installation works like David Nash‘s ‘Seventy-one Steps’, Hemali Bhuta‘s ‘Speed Breakers’ and Andy Goldsworthy‘s ‘Hanging Trees’.


 Zero to Infinity

 Zero to Infinity

Occasional Geometries: Rana Begum curates the Arts Council Collection

Jesse Darling, March of the Valedictorians,  yorkshire sculpture park

yorkshire sculpture park

 yorkshire sculpture park

Andy Goldsworthy: Outclosure

Andy Goldsworthy: Hanging Trees

Andy Goldsworthy: Hanging Trees  David Nash: Seventy-one Steps

yorkshire sculpture park

Top two rows: Rasheed Araeen’s Zero to Infinity at the Longside Gallery; 3rd row: Occasional Geometries: Rana Begum curates the Arts Council Collection; 4th row left: Jesse Darling’s March of the Valedictorians; 7th row: Andy Goldsworthy: Outclosure; 8th & 9th row left: Andy Goldsworthy: Hanging Trees 9th row right: David Nash: Seventy-one Steps


Sometimes visiting a vast sculpture park feels like a treasure hunt, and it is almost impossible to locate all the sculptures during a visit. But that is part of the fun as well – knowing that you have missed some, which gives you an excuse to return again.

However, having learnt that the Bretton Hall will be converted into a luxury hotel and spa with conference and wedding facilities is causing me some concern – will this be turned into a ‘Disneyland’ type of park? I sincerely hope not. Since the park is one of its kind in Britain, I hope it continue to remain so in the future.


tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park  tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park  tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects


Art & nature at Storm King Art Center

new york  new york

new york

Scenery on the way to Storm King Art Center in New Windsor


My trip to New York was split between staying in the city and spending time with my good friend and her family in Connecticut, and without a doubt it was the best way to enjoy what New York REALLY has to offer. Many visitors to New York rarely venture out of the city, but there is so much to see and do when you leave the city behind. And Storm King Art Center (it’s not so much an art center but rather a sculpture park) is certainly worth leaving the city for.

Many visitors don’t realise that there are many world-class museums located outside of the city. On my last visit, we visited the stunning and spacious Dia: Beacon contemporary art museum on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon. Hence I was keen to visit a similar art museum for us to spend the day. My friend searched on the internet and found out about the 500-acre open-air museum near Storm King Mountain in Mountainville, which is only about an hour’s drive north from New York City. Soon enough, we were off in her car driving to one of the leading sculpture parks in the US, if not the world.


alexander liberman adonai 1970-71

tal streeter endless column 1968  arnaldo pomodoro the pitrarubbia group 1975-76

kenneth snelson free ride home 1974

Top: Alexander Liberman’s Adonai 1970-71; 2nd left: Tal Streeter’s Endless Column 1968; 2nd right: Arnaldo Pomodoro’s The pitrarubbia group 1975-76; Bottom: Kenneth Snelson’s Free ride home 1974


Our arrival time was delayed due to a slight detour (which I will write about in my next entry), and we were left with only two/three hours in the afternoon to see the vast site. With more than over 100 sculptures scattered around the site, we decided to rent a bike each as we figured that it would be impossible to see much on foot.

The nonprofit Art Center was founded in 1960 by Ralph E. Ogden and his son-in-law, H. Peter Stern, the owners of the neaby Star Expansion Company. The museum building was originally built as a weekend house by a New York banker; and in 1959, the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation bought the house and its surrounding land, with the intention of establishing an art center for visual art and music. Ogden‘s original collection started with a trip to the studio of sculptor David Smith (see below), and over time, the collection grew, in both numbers and size. More land was acquired and the ongoing project was oversaw by landscape architect William A. Rutherford, Sr over a 45-year period.


mark di suvero

storm king art center   henry moore reclining connected forms

dennis oppenheim entrance to a garden

louise nevelson city on the high mountain

Top: Mark Di Suvero’s sculptures; 2nd right: Henry Moore’s Reclining Connected Forms 1969; 3rd row: Dennis Oppenheim’s Entrance to a garden 2002; 4th row: Louise Nevelson’s City on the high mountain 1983


I think May, September and October are the best months to visit New York because the weather is usually mild around this time. It was around mid 20s on the day, so it wasn’t too hot or humid. The bike idea turned out to be a brilliant one because it was breezy and fun to ride along the path with hardly any other visitors around! It has been a long time since I felt so carefree and blissful! Being able to enjoy art and nature without crowds or traffic simply puts one at ease immediately, hence we loved every moment of our time there!


storm king art center

storm king art center  dennis oppenheim

david smith  louise nevelson

louise bourgeois number seventy-two (the no march)

Top: Museum building; 2nd left: interior of the builing; 2nd right: Dennis Oppenheim; 3rd left: David smith’s sculptures; 3rd right: Louise Nevelson; bottom row: Louise Bourgeois’ Number seventy-two (the no march) 1972


I have always been a big fan of sculpture parks, and I particularly like Hakone Open-Air Museum just outside of Tokyo and Henry Moore‘s Perry Green in Hertfordshire (see my earlier post entry). But this vast scale of this park took us by surprise and it is particularly spectacular when you are standing next to the mammoth sculptures created by the most famous sculptors and artists from the 20th century.

The center also hosts regular exhibitions, and during our visit, several outdoor pieces by American conceptual artist Dennis Oppenheim were installed, including a previously unrealised one – Dead Furrow – based on his original drawing from 1967.


josef pillhofer reclining man 1964  nam june paik waiting for ufo

isamu noguchi momo taro

ursula von rydingsvard for paul 1990-92  ursula von rydingsvard for paul 1990-92

Top left: Josef Pillhofer’s Reclining man 1964; Top right: Nam June Paik’s Waiting for UFO 1992; 2nd row: Isamu Noguchi’s Momo Taro 1977-78; Bottom: Ursula Von Rydingsvard’s For Paul 1990-92


I have to admit that we were not fond of every sculpture at the park, since some of them are too abstract and perplexing to our liking. However, their arrangements do not obstruct the surrounding and every sculpture seems to blend well with the landscape. Our sole regret was that even with a map, we were unable to locate all the sculptures and we wished that we had more time to explore the park properly.


storm king art center  storm king art center

storm king art center

alexander calder five swords 1976

menashe kadishman suspended   dennis oppenheim dead furrow

zhang huan three legged buddha

Top row: Alexander Calder’s Five swords 1976; 2nd left: Menashe Kadishman’s Suspended 1977; 2nd right: Dennis Oppenheim’s Dead Furrow 2016; Bottom: Zhang Huan’s Three legged buddha 2007


andy goldsworthy storm king wall  storm king art center

roy lichtenstein mermaid

mark di suvero mother peace 1969-70

richard serra schunnemunk fork 1990-91  richard serra schunnemunk fork 1990-91

mark di suvero frog legs

Top: Andy Goldsworthy’s Storm king wall 1997-98; 2nd row: Roy Lichtenstein’s Mermaid 1994; 3rd row: Mark Di Suvero’s Mother peace 1969-70; 4th row: RIchard Serra’s Schunnemunk fork 1990-91; Bottom: Mark Di Suvero’s Frog legs 2002


At the end of the day, we felt so uplifted and joyous, and I considered the visit to be the highlight of my trip. So, I highly recommend this amazing place; go and see it for yourself the wonders of art in nature!

Henry Moore at Perry Green

henry moore perry greenperry green perry green

Main: Henry Moore’s Large Reclining figure in bronze; Bottom left: Henry Moore’s house, Hoglands


I love seeing sculptures outdoor, and one of my favourite sculpture parks is the Hakone open-air museum near Mount Fuji in Japan, where you would find over 100 sculptures by masters like Picasso, Rodin, Miro and Moore etc set in a stunning landscape. In the UK, I have long wanted to visit the Yorkshire sculpture park, which was awarded Museum of the year 2014, though somehow not quite managed it yet. However, I did make a trip to Perry Green in Hertfordshire at the end of summer with a group of art lovers to see the sublime sculptures by Henry Moore and their current exhibition, ‘Body & Void: Echoes of Moore in Contemporary Art‘ (until 26th October). In some ways, I feel like this extraordinary place is still a relatively hidden gem in the country, and I am not quite sure why.

Moore and his wife Irina moved to Perry Green in 1940 after their home and studio in Hampstead, London, had been damaged during the war. Originally planned as a temporary home, the Moores eventually settled in Perry Green for the rest of their lives and built up an estate which included their home Hoglands, a collection of studios and 70-acres of grounds in which Moore‘s sculptures could be displayed. Today, the estate is run by the Henry Moore Foundation, and it is open to the public every year between April and October.


body void Richard Deacon Associate Lygia Clark's Fantastic Architecture 1Rachel Whiteread's Detached 3 Thomas Schütte - Stahlfrau No.1 2000 perry greenrichard longbody void

Top right: Richard Deacon’s Associate; Main & bottom right: Lygia Clark’s Fantastic Architecture 1; 3rd row left: Rachel Whiteread’s Detached 3; 3rd row right: Thomas Schütte – Stahlfrau No.1 200; Bottom left: A telephone booth filled with artwork; Bottom middle: Richard Long’s North South Line


Soon after our arrival, we visited Moore’ former house, where most of its original furnishings and contents are still intact. There is a guide in each room to explain the stories and history behind his collections and their daily activities. It is fascinating to see the books Moore used to read, his ethnographic collection, as well as his private art collection, which includes a Picasso in the kitchen!

After the house tour, another guide was assigned to us for a longer tour of the estate, including Moore‘s former studios, the stunning tapestry barn and the current exhibition. ‘Body & Void: Echoes of Moore in Contemporary Art’ draws connections between Moore‘s investigation of internal space and its relationship with the human body, and reveals how his ideas have inspired subsequent generations of contemporary artists including Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Richard Long etc.


henry moore Sheep piece henry moore the archhenry moore Large Reclining figurehenry moore Draped reclining figurehenry moore Large upright internal/external formhenry moore Family grouphenry moore Double Oval Henry Moore: Large figure in a shelter

Top left: Sheep piece; Top right: The Arch; Main: Large Reclining figure surrounded by sheep; 3rd row left: Draped reclining figure; 3rd row middle: Large upright internal/external form; 3rd row right: Family group; Bottom left: Double Oval; Bottom right: Large figure in a shelter


One of the reasons why Perry Green is so special is because you can see many sheep surrounding Moore‘s sculptures in the fields behind his studio. Moore was born and grew up in Yorkshire, so he had a long fascination with sheep and used to sketch them all the time when he was living in Perry Green. Moore commented that sheep were “just the right size for the kind of landscape setting that I like for my sculptures, as opposed to cows or horses whose larger size would reduce the sense of monumentality in his work.”

There are about 23 outdoor sculptures by Moore at Perry Green, and most of them are in bronze. I have seen many Moore‘s sculptures inside museums before, but the impact is less powerful than seeing them out in nature against the beautiful landscape. Moore‘s sculptures are inspired by nature and organic objects, and so they look most at home out in the open air. Like the artist once said: “I would rather have a piece of sculpture put in a landscape, almost any landscape, than in or on the most beautiful building I know.”


henry moorehenry moore henry moore goslar warrior  henry moorehenry moorehenry moore


In order to appreciate Moore‘s outdoor sculptures, you need to walk around them and observe them from different angles. These sculptures change according to the sun light, clouds, shadows, and it is hard not to be mesmorised by them. Like Moore said: “Sculpture is like a journey. You have a different view as you return. The three-dimensional world is full of surprised in a way that a two-dimensional world could never be.”

Interestingly, this insightful statement seems to be relevant to how we live today… as we are so bogged down and obsessed with the two-dimensional world behind the screens that many are unable to experience life or interact with other human beings and their surroundings in reality.


tate britain henry moore henry moore's the arch IMG_0466

Top & bottom right: Henry Moore at Tate Britain; Bottom left: The Arch by Moore at Kensington gardens


Although we all felt quite exhausted after walking for hours, the day excursion was inspiring and uplifting for us all. And if you cannot make a trip to Perry Green before the end of the month, you can always visit Tate Britain, where you would find two permanent galleries dedicated to his work.

I also discovered an interview of Moore from the from the BBC archive: Henry Moore at Home, where you can hear him talk about private art collection and his fascination with sheep.


The Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, SG10 6EE.