Sculpture at Wisley to feature ‘The Four Seasons’

Monumental sculptures, inspired by 16th century paintings, are set to delight visitors to RHS Garden Wisley this spring for its major 2020 art exhibition.

The Four Seasons‘ is a collection of larger-than-life busts by contemporary American sculptor and filmmaker Philip Haas. Opening to the public on 9th March, 2020 and running until 30th September, the exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to see the sculptures on show in the UK for only the second time ever.

At the inaugural sculpture exhibition in 2019, The Four Seasons featured as smaller maquettes that were displayed in the Welcome building, but the full-size sculptures on exhibit this year will offer a bold new perspective.

The 15ft tall fibreglass heads are three-dimensional interpretations of Renaissance paintings created by Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo in the late 16th century. The pieces imagine Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in human form, rendered in exuberant and thought-provoking arrangements of seasonal fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Encouraging visitor interaction

RHS Garden Wisley curator Matthew Pottage and Philip Haas together considered and selected the settings for each piece to encourage visitor interaction with the sculpture so they will form separate locations at Wisley rather than being sited together. This will allow for each sculpture to be appreciated individually in the landscape.

The maquettes were hugely popular with people of all ages – how could you fail to be enchanted by this verdant vision of Spring, or caught in Winter’s unflinching gaze?” says Matthew Pottage. “Naturally we were delighted for the opportunity to showcase the full-size artworks in the garden and we know our visitors will be just as excited to experience them as Philip Haas intended. Wisley’s unique landscapes offer exciting new ways to view the works, and the sculpture will take on a different character as the garden moves through the seasons.” (pictured left, Winter)

Philip Haas explains that he embarked upon the Four Seasons project wanting to re-contextualize Arcimboldo’s 16th century nature imagery within a 21st century physical world through changes in scale, material and dimensionality: “With the exhibition taking place at Wisley over multiple seasons, another transformation will occur to alter and enrich the viewer’s perspective – the passage of time, the play of light and weather on the sculptures,” he said.

A self-guided map will lead visitors around the garden. The cost of the exhibition will be included in Wisley’s normal garden admission. For garden details, exhibitions etc please visit: