Whilst I do have some statues in my garden they aren’t of gnomes. Would my garden be better served by some gnomes? Perhaps? So to learn a little more about these small creatures that inhabit some gardens I started to read and to my amazement discovered they have been around for a very long time. This rather gorgeous fellow is from the Isle of Sark (English Channel) and was made in the 1930s.(Credit: eBay)
The word gnome, from the Latin genomos, earth-dweller, was first used in the 1500s by Paracelsus, a Swiss alchemist, astrologer, botanist, and occultist who came to be known as the "Father of Toxicology." Paracelsus’ gnomes were one of four "elementals," nature spirits having a special affinity with one of the four elements -- earth, air, fire, or water -- believed to make up everything in the universe. Gnomes were the elemental spirits associated with earth. Paracelsus (below), believed that gnomes were “two spans” tall (about 20 inches), lived underground, and could move through the solid earth as easily as humans move through air. Over time, the concept of the gnome has become synonymous with a range of solitary domestic fairies whose ranks include the dwarf, brownie, hob, goblin, nisse, and tomte -- little people whose presence brings luck to the farmsteads they inhabit, including its gardens. (wyrtig.com)
Phillip Griebel, a German sculptor, was well in tune with popular legends of gnomes in Germany, and began creating them as garden decorations in the 19th century. And his descendants are still producing garden gnomes in Germany. (Wikipedia) I found this photo of 3rd generation family member Erich Griebel (1923-2005) photographed as he builds a gnome.
In 1847, Sir Charles Edmund Isham came back from Germany with a set of 21 gnomes which were made out of terracotta. Sir Charles (1819–1903) was an English landowner and gardener based at Lamport Hall, Northampton. He is credited with beginning the tradition of garden gnomes in the United Kingdom in the 1840s. Nicknamed Lampy (below), the only gnome of the original batch to survive is on display at Lamport Hall and insured for £1 million.[(Wikipedia)
If you are into gnomes you will enjoy this site which offeres lots of pictures and information:JustSayGnome.