Interview by Peter Baird
For our occasional series exploring the attraction of placing sculpture in private spaces, we spoke to Turrill Garden Treasurer and Emeritus Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford, Helen Morton about her extensive collection. Here is the second part of our chat, when Helen talked about the benefits of collecting sculpture.
TSG: Helen, why do you enjoy collecting sculpture?
HM: They give me pleasure! I enjoy seeing all the sculptures, some of which are in full view on the lawn and some are emerging from the plants growing in my garden so they look different at each season. Also, I have bought and inherited rather a lot of paintings and prints and this means that most of the walls inside my house are covered so the only place where I have room to add items is in the garden!
TSG: How does sculpture enrich your life?
HM: It gives me pleasure and it makes me smile. And I enjoy seeing the reactions of my friends and family when they come into the garden and admire the sculpture, especially the latest pieces including the one in my front garden which can be seen and enjoyed by anyone passing by.
TSG: What are your do's and don'ts when it comes to buying sculpture?
HM: I like sculpture that weathers well and doesn’t need too much maintenance. I prefer sculpture that is abstract or at least does not include a model of a human being though I do now have sculptures of several animals, including hippos, dragons and a fish. I would tend to avoid anything with a wooden base as I know it will eventually fall apart or I would get it replaced by a stone base. If the sculpture is very heavy and so I will not be able to move it by myself, I have to be very careful about deciding where to have it placed and ask for assistance from strong friends if necessary.
Thank you again to Helen for allowing us an insight into her sculptural world!