Creating delicate butterfly beauty from a two-tonne block of oak

PUBLISHED: 07:56 10 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:01 10 March 2015

The stunning new butterfly sculpture at Polesden Lacey

The stunning new butterfly sculpture at Polesden Lacey


The National Trust property Polesden Lacey has taken delivery of a striking wooden sculpture hewn out of a two-tonne block of oak by Surrey artist Iain Hamilton Crafer.

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Created from a tree felled on Bookham Common, the stunning carving features a design of butterflies and flowers, celebrating the lifecycle of the beautiful Adonis blue butterfly, which frequents the grasslands not far from Polesden Lacey.

“Seeing the wildlife come to life in the wood as I worked was both inspiring and exciting,” says Iain, who also volunteers for the National Trust at Landbarn in Westcott. “I am hoping that the sculpture will attract people to see the Adonis blue in its natural habitat in the hills near Denbies Vineyard and hence appreciate its magnificent beauty.”

The Adonis blue is a wonderful example of the kind of wildlife that flourishes in the landscape local to Polesden Lacey. With a wingspan of approximately 30-40mm, it is easily identified by its iridescent wings, which are a vibrant shade of aquamarine.

“We are really proud to host the sculpture because it ties together so many elements from the local land and community,” says Polesden’s visitor experience manager, Rob Bishop. “It’s stunning to look at and this sculpture expresses everything that’s beautiful about this local landscape.”

Based in the village of Abinger Hammer, Iain works from his studio using mostly traditional hand-carving tools. More of his intricate wildlife woodcarvings will be featured on Leith Hill’s new noticeboards this spring.

Meanwhile, Polesden Lacey will host the sculpture for two months, before it is moved to the slopes of Denbies’ hillside in early May, when the first brood of Adonis blue butterflies will hatch.


• Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, Dorking RH5 6BB. Tel: 01372 452048. Web: Iain’s work can be seen on his Flickr page at


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