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The Wildlife of the Great British Countryside

Handmade sculptures that celebrate classic literature and local wildlife in the UK

The Wildlife of the Great British Countryside

Handmade sculptures that celebrate classic literature and local wildlife in the UK

“I remember every stone, every tree, the scent of heather... even when the thunder growled in the distance, and the wind swept up the valley in fitful gusts, oh, it was beautiful, home sweet home.”

Beatrix Potter

The narrative roots of so many classic children’s books are set firmly in the rich natural landscape of the great British countryside; memorable settings, either inspired by real locations or depicted faithfully to create a sense of magical realism. 

Ratty and Mole’s river boat trip in Wind in the Willows, to name just one, almost certainly references a stretch of the Thames, centred on Cookham Dean, that runs from Marlow to Pangbourne; while Nuthanger Farm and the stark, rolling hills of Hampshire are landmarks in Richard Adams’ timeless novel, Watership Down

Indeed, much of Beatrix Potter’s literary universe is a melting pot of the English writer’s own experiences in the great outdoors; from her time spent in the Lake District to her childhood summers in the Scottish Highlands. Even the beloved characters themselves were love letters to the wildlife that became such an enduring presence in the English author’s life; whether it’s her pet hedgehog Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle or Jemima Puddle Duck—a real Aylesbury duck who lived with Beatrix at Hill Top Farm. 

Just as these great writers are inspired by the riverbanks, sweeping moorlands, and craggy moonlit rocks of the British countryside, so too is our creative spark fired by the colourful characters that tread, waddle and hop along its familiar path. 

Our bronze sculpture collection—a glorious menagerie of wildlife whose adventures pull them across this beautiful natural landscape, before finding the perfect spot in your garden. A place to call home.

ratty and mole in a boat

Wind in the Willows and the idyllic Edwardian countryside

‘I like most of my friends among the animals more than I like most of my friends among mankind.’

Kenneth Grahame’s love of nature, wild landscape, and conservation lay the groundwork for some of children’s literature’s best-loved characters. Grahame’s story of boating, caravanning, riverside picnicking, and the fortunes of four firm animal friends is, despite some slightly darker undertones, an ode to the great British countryside: ‘the treasures of hedge and ditch; the rapt surprise of the first lords-and-ladies, the rustle of a field-mouse, the splash of a frog’

The creator of Badger, Ratty and Mole, and of course, the thrill-seeking, Toad of Toad Hall, Kenneth Grahame’s interest in nature was ingrained as a child. A life awash with personal loss, the countryside around him provided solace and literary inspiration. He once told his wife that while she might be interested in people, what moved him were places and the community of wildlife that populated them.

Beatrix Potter…inspired by nature

“I wished to trust myself on the waters and the sea. Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old-fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden.”

Beatrix Potter, the creator of such beloved book characters as Squirrel Nutkin, Mr. Tod and the hopelessly unlucky Mr Jeremy Fisher, was a frequent visitor to the Hertfordshire countryside, which played a key role in nurturing her love of wildlife and rural places. 

On her travels in nature, Potter drew and painted the plants, animals, places and views that would become the enduring themes of her books. The Tale of Peter Rabbit started life as an illustrated letter that she wrote to a small boy in 1893 while on holiday in Dunkeld in Perthshire, while the charming illustrations of Mr McGregor, whose vegetable garden Peter Rabbit plotted his daring escape, were thought to resemble a Scottish postman Beatrix befriended over their common interest of fungi!

As a child, Beatrix and her brother Bertram were known to care for a variety of pets; from lizards, snakes, and bats to, perhaps unsurprisingly, rabbits!—including one Benjamin Bouncer, who she was often photographed with on her holidays to the countryside.

Bring the countryside to your garden

If you'd like to find out more about our bronze sculpture collection, or would like any advice about how you can introduce any of these glorious characters into your own garden space, do please get in touch. We'd love to chat.

Posted on July 4th 2023

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