Sunday 3 February 2013

Pantastic Dinosaurs Land In The Pavilion

After spending December flying Peter Pan in the Pantomime at Buxton Opera house, local artist Andy Hill will be stripping his talents back to the bone, when his Dinosaur skeleton sculptures land next door in the tropical house of the Pavilion Gardens for two months.
The magnificent Conservatory in the Pavilion Gardens was the work of Edward Milner, apprentice to the famous Joseph Paxton, designer of the Crystal Palace.  It is apt then that this building is the venue for a dinosaur exhibit which parallels the very first public display of dinosaurs at the Crystal Palace in 1854.
The original Crystal Palace event was commissioned by Richard Owen, who coined the very word dinosaur meaning terrible lizard.  The sculptures themselves were built by Benjamin Waterhouse-Hawkins and are now considered as comically inaccurate as Andy’s first attempt at building a dinosaur sculpture, Frank, who was conceived on a visit to Manchester Museum when Andy looked at a dinosaur skeleton and  had a Eureka moment when he decided that making steel dinosaurs was “what he should be doing”.  Dinosaurs have come a long way since then though as Andy soon realised that in order to create accurate sculptures he would need to know more about the anatomy of a dinosaur and his pieces are now uncannily lifelike and animated despite being skeletons of the beasts they represent.  Andy has a knack of breathing life into these steel structures in a way that has to be seen to be fully appreciated.  When his creations featured in the local Buxton Museum two years ago visitor numbers increased dramatically making it one of the most successful exhibitions ever held there.
The dinosaur invasion is not just limited to the conservatory, although in this splendid Victorian wrought iron structure the large dinosaurs will be at home amongst the ferns and exotic hothouse blooms. The cafe will play host to the smaller, but no less impressive dinosaur sculptures.
As well as making anatomically correct dinosaur skeletons Andy uses artistic licence to create more whimsical characters such as the full size gladiator standing guard at the entrance to the Craft Rooms and Octagon.
There’s always something going on at the Pavilion Gardens – there’s more than just ducks in the park but this is one not to miss.
For more information about Andy Hill’s work visit  and for more information about the Pavilion Gardens visit

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