Antique garden sculptures: where to buy and what to look out for
LAPADA member Alex Puddy of Architectural Heritage, which sells antique and contemporary sculpture, has some advice on the best places to buy garden sculptures – and what to look out for
When designing and landscaping a garden, sculptures can add decoration and a focal point. Here, we present our guide to the best places to buy antique garden sculptures – and our recommendations of what to look out for and how to check the condition and provenance of new pieces.
Where to buy antique garden sculptures
When buying outdoor sculpture, Alex Puddy’s advice is to buy what you like but from a reputable dealer that is registered with one of the main dealer associations. This means the price you will pay is the current market price.
Here are some of the best places in the UK to buy antique garden sculptures:
Interested in buying other kinds of garden antiques? Have a read of our guide to the best flea markets and antiques dealers for buying garden antiques.
Once you've booked in a few weekends to visit these sellers, consult our list of the best garden antiques designers from history, compiled by Salvage Hunter Drew Pritchard. He's picked out three major designers for you to keep an eye out for.
What to look for when buying antique garden sculpture
Think of scale
‘With outdoor sculpture, scale is important also,’ he says. ‘I often need to encourage clients to be brave about the size of a sculpture – we’re generally conservative when viewing items outside our known environment. Of course, for intimate spaces small is correct, but sculpture should always be a focal point, so size is important.’
Find out more about how to design and landscape your garden using antiques here.
Consider the views from all angles
If you're buying a sculpture for a formal setting, Alex reminds us to consider all the vistas, even the one from the bedroom window. ‘In an asymmetrical space, look around you and then consider the work and its material, colour and texture. Place something approximately the same size – but something that’s light to manoeuvre – in your chosen spot and move it around until it looks right. Trust your judgment.’
Check the condition and provenance
It’s important that an antique sculpture is in good condition and has good provenance, continues Alex. If you’re looking for a modern work, ensure you buy it from a reputable dealer and check the artist’s biography online to see whether they are, or were, a member of an association. Also check whether they exhibited regularly and, if so, where they exhibited.
More like this
To keep your antique pieces in top condition, read our guide to how to clean and repair garden sculptures.
Build a relationship with a sculpture dealer
‘Build up a relationship with your dealer,’ Alex adds. ‘We will advise you and you don’t necessarily need to purchase from us to ask for our advice. We are really quite friendly – it’s our job and we love to share our knowledge.’
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