No more i-gnome-iny for garden ornaments
by Rhiannon James
Gnomes at the Eden Project credit: Tom Griffiths
After years of contumely, has the humble garden gnome found its mojo?
Having graced the Mulberry spring/summer 2013 show earlier this year, gnomes are now sporting their own designer fashion. Eley Kishimoto’s vibrant prints have previously featured on the catwalks of Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jil Sander but now 101 limited edition ‘Flash’ gnomes – created to celebrate the duo’s 20 years in business – have their own hand-painted outfits in the company’s signature Flash print (£170 each from www.eleykishimoto.com).
Gnomes are also making a splash in the art world. At the Eden Project, 1,000 gnomes are featuring in an outdoor art installation to show how climate change is affecting the Arctic. Each week, up to 6th January, some of these gnomes will disappear to represent Arctic ice melt. To adopt one of them, you can visit the installation and make your own climate change pledge (www.thearcticgnome.org).
And of course, gnomes are to be seen in all the best places. The recently published The Making of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park book reveals that a gnome, Impkins, has been residing at a secret location in the park since the Games started – watch out for him when the gardens re-open in July 2013.
Garden gnomes have aristocratic roots – they were first brought to Britain in 1847 by Sir Charles Isham of Lamport Hall. Lampy, the only surviving member of this first generation is still at the Hall and is now thought to be worth £1 million.
Who has the last laugh now?