In 2011 a statue of Leda and the Swan, which had sat in the garden of Aske Hall at Richmond in Yorkshire for four centuries was sold at auction for £12.2 million. This was encouraging news for us because on that very day Alan Ward was hard at work creating our very own garden statue of Leda and the Swan. The Aske Hall version is by an unidentified Roman sculptor of the 2nd century AD and it is not known how long he took to complete the work, but we know from our own experience that it’s a long, intricate process. A five ton block of Portland stone (see the photo below) was delivered to us in June 2009 and Alan has been working on it ever since, outside, in all weathers. Each buttock took three months. It would of course have been completed much sooner if Alan hadn’t had a full time teaching job and other commissions to contend with. Ours is entitled Leda and The Golden Swan, the gold being calculated to bring prosperity to the inhabitants of Yewbarrow House. The finished product is, to my mind, every bit as beautiful as the Aske Hall version, but we’ll have to wait until after I’m gone and my rapacious descendants consign it to the auction house before we discover if it’s worth £12.2 million. In the meantime, it will sit under the stone arch at the end of our drive, providing an intriguing focal point as you enter the garden.