Statuary at St Mary’s College, Durham

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    St Mary’s College of the University of Durham was founded in 1899. It is the only Durham college to be established in the 19th Century and has a long and distinguished history. Originally women only, it was the last of the university’s colleges to go totally mixed in 2005, ending over a hundred years of tradition. The neo-classical buildings, designed in the 1930s, are situated in beautiful landscaped grounds with stunning views of the cathedral. These extensive, mature grounds now feature spectacular statuary, supplied by Andy Thornton, which was carefully sourced to blend seamlessly within the historic surroundings.

    The front entrance of the college’s Fergusson building is guarded by an impressive pair of wild boars reclining on plinths in Bath stone composition, while a second entrance features a pair of hunting hounds on plinths, again in stone composition. These figures are manufactured in the UK for Andy Thornton and are hand-antiqued to give a convincing aged appearance.

    In the lawned gardens, Andy Thornton supplied a magnificent set of hand-sculpted solid marble Four Seasons statues and a pair of lead statues of Apollo and Artemis. There is also an impressive reclining lion on a plinth in aged Portland stone composition and an antique stone statue of the Virgin Mary. Inside the Fergusson Building Andy Thornton supplied a lion and unicorn pair on plinths and a reading lady figure, along the main corridor.

    The statuary and sculpture has been so well received at St Mary’s that other Durham colleges, including St Cuthbert’s have commissioned pieces from the company.

    Andy Thornton offers a comprehensive range of outdoor garden statuary and sculpture offering both antique pieces where available and quality reproductions, mainly of UK manufacture. They also accept special commissions to order. To complement this, the company also stock decorative gazebos, pergolas, fountains, urns, planters and garden seating.

    To see the current stock, visit their impressive showrooms at Victoria Mills in Greetland, near Halifax; browse online at; or call their sales team on 01422 376000.

    Daniel Fountain / 28.06.2011

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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