Holland Park’s Sun Trap garden has been nurtured to create an exotic display of colourful plants and ferns. At the centre sat an empty brick plinth just crying out for a sculpture that fitted the richness and warm colours of the planting.
Rhoddy Wood and I researched sculptors and, after a rewarding visit to a sculpture park in Farnham, decided that Jonathan Loxley was the artist we wanted. Jonathan studied marble sculpture techniques in Florence and eventually set up his own studio in Carrara, Italy, the home of marble. His sculptures have been widely exhibited in Europe. We liked his work because it is mystical, and understanding it is left to one’s own imagination. After meeting him and agreeing a form, stone and size, Jonathan set off to Italy to buy a large chunk of honey-coloured onyx. He went to work in his studio, now in Salisbury, making several visits to the Sun Trap garden to check how the piece would look in situ.
Finally, on 17 July 2014, ‘Tonda’ arrived in Jonathan’s trailer. The weighty piece was expertly transported from the car park to the site by Scott and Louis, wielding an oversized telehandler (or telescopic handler), under the watchful eye of RBK&C’s Abi O’Neill. Liam, the Quadron man responsible for the Sun Trap, kept an eye on proceedings to ensure that none of his planting was damaged. Once the new plinth was secured, the sculpture was firmly cemented into place and oriented to best effect.
Why ‘Tonda’? We wanted a suitably mystical name with links to her Italian origin. Tondo is an Italian word which is used for rounded pieces of art and, since the piece is female, ‘Tonda’ is appropriate.
Jonathan told us: ‘In my work, I try to strip away the superficial so that it can be experienced at an elemental level. People respond to Tonda’s colour, texture, feel and shape in a way that is hard to describe to someone who hasn’t seen her.’
‘Tonda’ was commissioned and paid for by the Friends.
Text and photos: Jennie Kettlewell