“If an artist can paint a picture of a landscape – art mimicking nature – then why not a sculptor creating a landscape of a work of art – nature mimicking art?”
— James T. Mason, sculptor and creator of the topiary interpretation of George Seurat’s famous painting
Undoubtedly one of the most unusual topiary gardens anywhere, Topiary Park is landscape art based on actual art, specifically a famous painting.
In 1988, artist and sculptor James T. Mason proposed that Georges Seurat’s landscape painting — “A Sunday on the Island of La Grand Jatte”— be recreated in topiary within the seven-acre Old Deaf School Park located in downtown Columbus, Ohio and in 1992, Topiary Park was dedicated. Apparently, Mason’s wife requested that he build a topiary sculpture in their back yard. Instead, Mason came up with idea of interpreting Georges Seurat’s famous painting in topiary. His wife, who worked at the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, brought the idea to the director, who “embraced the concept.”
Background: The Park is at the site of the original Ohio School for the Deaf, which opened in 1834. In 1953, the Ohio School for the Deaf moved to its present location and the City of Columbus turned the 7-acre site into a park. Mason constructed the bronze frames and planted the shrubs, and his wife Elaine was the first topiarist.
This unique topiary tableau comprises 54 human figures, eight boats, three dogs, a monkey and a cat – each made of yew, with the tallest standing at 12 feet. The scene also includes a man-made pond to represent the river seine, where boat-shaped topiaries reside next to beautiful water lilies
PhotosCcourtesy of Friends of the Topiary Park
Website: Topiary Park