Fantastic Beasts (and where to find them)*

*(It’s Trinity Manor)

James Doran-Webb is arguably the world’s leading Driftwood animal sculptor. His sculptures grace public places and private gardens across the globe, from Singapore’s iconic Gardens by the Bay where the largest body of his work can be seen to JM Barrie’s birthplace in Kirriemuir, Scotland, where a 6m long driftwood Tick-Tock can be found amongst the overgrown vegetation of the garden.

He has made the world’s tallest driftwood animal installation which graces the 20m high roof deck of Beijing’s Botanic Gardens; a family of giraffes rise 13m above the roof deck, the highest point for miles around, withstanding some of China’s most unforgiving weather; dry heat in the summer, snow storms in the winter and lightning and earthquake activity all year round. Most notably, he is known for his annual display on Main avenue at the world-famous Chelsea Flower show, where his sculptures are without doubt one of the event’s must-see attractions. In 2013 and 2017 he was awarded the prestigious Best Tradestand award and consistently garners 5 stars for his display.

James’ career is linked inexorably to Jersey. Aside from his cousins, who live in Jersey, it was his first European exhibition held in 2010 at St Helier’s Falle Fine Art Gallery that transformed his passion into his profession. It was quite literally a sell-out. In the words of John Falle, “We had to take the gallery apart to get them in. And they all sold, they flew out of the door!”

Eleven years on, James is returning to Jersey for his second exhibition to be hosted by Trinity Manor during the first week of August. We are to have our own sneak preview of his exhibit at this year’s September Chelsea Flower show! Included in the line-up are 30 sculptures that include the largest water feature he has made to date. The “Infants of Poseidon” depict 3 horses emerging from their marine habitat to confront the world. Water pours from their hooves and tails as they proudly stand astride their Verdigris plinths. The installation rises some six metres high.

Alongside this monumental piece are dragonflies, owls, eagles, squirrels, wyverns. frogs sharks and other unforgettable characters all vying for attention among the spectacular gardens of Trinity Manor.

@trinitymanor.com or jamesdw@gmail.com

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