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A rather more appropriate title would be Garden Antiques: Sotheby’s Guide on How to Source & Identify, as the majority of the pictures are courtesy of Sotheby’s Sussex, who still hold two annual specialist sales of garden statuary and, following the retirement in 2001 of Jackie Rees as director of Sotheby’s garden statuary department, Rupert van der Werff is now that specialist. One can only presume, too, that the price guide figures here are those realised at Sotheby’s garden statuary sales.

As TV garden makeover programmes and a vast range of magazines and supplements continue their exhausting and exhaustive trawl through every possible enhancement to “yon garden green,” ever more interest is generated in gardenalia. This book gives a grounding in what are described as “affordable” ornaments and most of the pieces illustrated date from the 19th century or later.

Subjects covered include an identification of materials used, with chapters on finials and urns, garden furniture – with a very short introduction to cast iron and Coalbrookdale – sculpture and architectural ornament, while the chapter on structures includes a few Oriental heavyweights, such as a bronze Japanese Oriental lantern estimated at £2000-3000, set with bells that sound when the wind blows, designed to light a person’s way and ward off evil spirits, and Alan Titchmarsh.

As the market for garden ornaments increases, so too does their theft. Guile is used; a friend had in his 10 acres some rather lovely stone busts secured to plinths; not being able to part busts from plinths the thieves sawed off the heads, leaving only 15 mutilated draped shoulders. There is a page in this book on care and security, including Travan ID tags, alarm sensors, microdots, screech alarms and, if all else fails, a large dog, presumably one which barks when one of its fleas moves.

There is a list of Where to Buy and See, with phone numbers given, but in most cases no website address offered, and with no mention here of Salvo, one of the largest sources of antique garden ornaments in the UK/Europe. A useful, if limited, introduction to the subject, but not as thorough a book as the Antique Collectors Club’s Antiques from the Garden, written by Alistair Morris, former MD of Sotheby’s Sussex.