Archive for the ‘Shepherds’ Category

Seeking shepherds

February 16, 2011

View east from Reigate Hill. ©NTPL/John Miller

The National Trust is asking for volunteers to come forward to help check up on the sheep and cattle at Reigate Hill, Surrey.

Lead sculpture of a shepherd by John Van Nost at Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire. Acquired with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1981. ©NTPL/Andrew Butler.

Head Warden Mark Richards says people do not need to be available every day, and training will be provided on how to identify potential problems with the 22 sheep and five cows.

A lead figure of a shepherd by Van Nost at Powis Castle, Powys. ©NTPL/David Levenson

Traditionally shepherds were seen as romantic figures, somehow situated on the border between civilisation and nature, gatekeepers of the world of myth.

Elizabeth Cust, Mrs Yorke, as a shepherdess by Francis Cotes, at Erddig, Wrexham. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Statues of shepherds adorned country house gardens. Grand ladies would have themselves portrayed as shepherdesses, just as they sometimes pretended to be godesses or Van Dyck-style historical figures.

Another view from Reigate Hill. ©NTPL/John Miller

However, I don’t think you need to carry a pipe or prance aroud in the nude to be a volunteer at Reigate Hill – an interest in animal welfare and a dose of common sense are more important in today’s volunteer shepherd.