Dartington connection

After the Ramblers’ Devon Area AGM at Dartington Hall I wandered into the grounds.  There were two sculptures I was keen to revisit.

The Henry Moore Memorial Figure is situated on a prominent spot above the tiltyard.

6 Henry Moore

Henry Moore’s Memorial Figure (1947)

It was dedicated to Christopher Martin, first administrator of the Arts Centre at Dartington.

7 HM inscription

Inscription on the Henry Moore

Both my mother and her sister Nancy Balfour knew Chris Martin.  Mum told me how he took her up a funicular and gave her lunch when she was on a skiing holiday in 1935.  I have found a photo from the holiday in Igls, Tirol.

Chris Martin, Cicely and Aunt Nancy 1935

Chris Martin, his future wife Ciceley, and Aunt Nancy at Igls, Tirol, in 1935

Sadly, Chris died young in 1944.  Ciceley went on to marry Philip Hendy, who was later director of the National Gallery and Aunt Nancy kept up her friendship with her.

The other sculpture with which I wanted to reacquaint myself is the delightful bronze donkey by Willi Soukop, an early teacher of Elisabeth Frink.  Soukop came to Dartington in 1934 at the suggestion of Leonard Elmhirst’s secretary, as he was anxious to leave Vienna.  (Leonard Elmhirst and his wife Dorothy founded Dartington; they bought the neglected buildings at Dartington in 1925.)  Soukop had little money, and the gardens superintendent suggested he make some sculptures to sell on the Dartington stand at the Chelsea Flower Show.  Strangely but fortunately the donkey was not sold, and Elmhirst bought it for Dartington, where it has remained a much-loved feature of the garden.

8 donkey

Willi Soukop’s Donkey (1935)

About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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