Yesterday was a hectic day as the last of the Cooke family's collection left Athelhampton, some five months after their auction. The white marble statue of Queen Victoria by Francis John Williamson has stood at Athelhampton for almost 50 years.
The Statue arrived at Athelhampton on a damp and misty morning in 1971, she was destined to be placed as the focal point at the end of the canal pond, however, once she had her toe in the garden she would not move any further, so she was left where she was, plans were changed and the new Queen Victoria Walk was created especially for her.
With this in mind, it is unsurprising that the first contractors who had traveled from London to collect struggled and left empty-handed on their first occasion. Time passed, and with our own plans to redevelop the area on hold, I decided to engage some local talent to move her. Rather like a stoic Mary Poppins she was up up and away, with a deft hand on the crane controls, she was maneuvered through a tiny opening by the historic garden pavilion.