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This garden temple is dedicated to Apollo, his music, his missiles and his Muses.The dedication and the architectural features are painted onto the facade, so that the simple Scottish building retains its character while being transformed by the gilding, classical lettering and columns. Apollo played the lyre, the instrument of lyric song and poetry; his missiles were deadly arrows; his Muses were the divine beings who inspired the great arts. By the celebration of these three attributes of Apollo the question of their place in our time is raised, along with ideas of civilisation, violence, tenderness and sublimity which are found in many of the works at Little Sparta.

There is figure of Apollo after the well known 17th century work by Bernini at the end of the Temple of Baucis and Philemon. It stands in a shrine recalling a Roman lararium, shrine to a household’s gods. Instead of his classical bow and arrows, Apollo carries a machine gun. The letters inscribed on the plinth, A SJ, indicate that this is Apollo as Louis Antoine Saint-Just, the passionately purist French Revolutionary. Bringing together images of three separate eras, the work compels reflection on the relationship between violence and integrity.


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Photographs by Andrew Lawson except where noted