Apollo and Bacchus are wrapped in green, not for Mrs Grundylike reasons of propriety, but to protect their delicate parts from the frost and snow. Along with the other stone members of Anglesey Abbey’s pantheon, far from the mild Mediterranean, they hibernate through the winter. Even a cursory inspection at other times of the year shows how much the figures have already suffered from the Fen-edge weather and how necessary winter covering is. Their hardier fellows in lead, bronze, resin and Coad stone still bare their breasts and buttocks to the elements.
Where do these lumpen forms fit within my project to celebrate the classical figures in two very different settings: the Anglesey Abbey gardens open to the weather and the layering of nature’s patina; and a well-lit, clean, temperature controlled gallery at the Museum of Classical Archaeology (see Classical Contrasts 1)? They must be part of it. The cracks, raindrops, leaves, insects and spiders webs borne by the Abbey’s figures help to define their difference from life in the museum. The green shrouds are the ultimate expression of this.