Incredible Living Sculpture Pete And SueHill

Cornwall in southwest England is a magical place full of stories and legends from King Arthur. Next is the mysterious Lost Gardens of Heligan – the largest European garden restoration project that stretches 200 hectares and is ideal for researchers, plant lovers, and romance.

There are many secrets that can be found in Heligan, and one of them is the iconic statue of “Dirty Maid”, made with love by local artists – a duet of brothers and sisters, Pete and Sue Hill. The statue was commissioned in 1997 and has been an integral part of walking through a park that has been missing since then.

The so-called mud girl is a living statue. This means that “clothes” and “hair” change with the seasons when grass, ivy and moss grow and then dry out. So you will see that it has a vital look in spring and summer; and it will look very different in fall and winter.

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This is the Mud Maid sculpture in The Lost Gardens of Heligan, in Cornwall

It’s a living sculpture…

…which means that its appearance changes with the seasons, as plants grow and then wither away

Image credits: Pete & Sue Hill

Image credits: ejlilie

Image credits: _timmurray_

Image credits: Stuart Richards

The Mud Maid represents a sleeping woman

Image credits: Wulan Nephin

The Mud Maid, along with the Hills’ other sculpture, The Giant’s Head, are meant to bring a sense of mystery to Heligan and to enhance the woodland experience.

The Mud Maid was built by crafting a hollow framework made of timber and windbreak netting; the brother-sister sculptors applied sticky mud to it.

The face of the sculpture is made from a mix of mud, cement, and sand. Fun fact: originally, it was coated in yogurt to make lichens grow. Meanwhile, the Maid’s head is full of Woodsedge and Montbretia while ivy makes up her clothes.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan were established by the Tremayne family back in the 18th century and are one of the most famous British botanical gardens. Before World War I, the Tremanynes employed 22 gardeners to keep the estate prim and proper.

However, once the war started, many of the gardeners went off to the front. After WWI ended, the number of gardeners diminished and the estate fell into disrepair.

The Hills’ living sculptures attract thousands of visitors to the 400-year-old gardens each and every year.

Here’s what the Mud Maid looks like in late Spring…

Image credits: Daderot

Image credits: Pete & Sue Hill

Image credits: heligangardens

…and Autumn

Image credits: joanna_eden

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