Sculpting Ickworth's ancient trees

John with 2nd totem Ickworth

Having nearly completed the first of his four ‘Totems’ at Ickworth, John Williams is now looking to the second Oak and in his own words explains his inspiration and why he is using two dogs who regularly visit Ickworth as the muses to help tell this story.

I have made a decision to start calling the Oak stumps ‘Totems’ since, to me, they are beginning to resemble a Pre-Columbian Totem. Each of the 4 trees will show the progress of the Hervey family with their retainers and staff spanning 400 or so years.

The first Totem is nearing completion; I need to finish off the two hunting hounds chasing the stag. I am using inspiration from two real life dogs that regularly walk past the tree, called Finty and Nosey Rosie. They are very excited about being made famous by the carvings at Ickworth. As well as regular dog visitors I am still hoping one of the residents of Horringer or surrounding district will allow me to realise them on the next tree. In particular I am looking for a muse to represent the "Flora" character who supports the efforts of the 1st Earl in his walled garden along with the Green man. Just stop and chat when you are passing if you're interested!

Our Resident Sculptor in action at the Totem
John with second totem
Our Resident Sculptor in action at the Totem

With the second Totem I will be including the figures of the 1st Earl of Bristol, Lord John Hervey and Molly Lepel. Three influential figures who, each in their own way, helped shape Ickworth as we see it today. Each portrait will draw inspiration from the portraiture in the Rotunda, including some of the frames.  

The Totem will also feature the walled garden, creating a secure and supportive environment for growing both food and flowers.  The green man shown in the first totem will be morphed into the Greek deity Zephyr and paired up with Flora. Between the two they will represent the enduring fecundity of Ickworth. Below them will be the estate manages and gardeners tending their new productive patch.

The Green Man representating Ickworth's bountiful estate
John second totem ickworth
The Green Man representating Ickworth's bountiful estate

This Totem is likely to be completed towards the end of this December and as always, if you see or hear me please do come and say hello!

John Williams – Sculptor