Sunday, April 29, 2007

I want one, but haven't found the right one yet.....

History of Garden Gnomes
Gnomes have been part of German folklore since the early 1400's. The first ever recorded garden Gnome was produced in Graeferoda, Thuringia, Germany in the 1800's. They were generally made of clay/terracotta and were painted in bright colours. They were highly collectable and most were beautifully made works of art. In 1874, the British eccentric Sir Charles Isham brought some terracotta Gnomes to England from Nuremberg, Germany. Only one of the gnomes, Lampy, has survived; the gnome, which is 6" high is insured for £1m.
By 1872 August Heissner and Philipp Griebel were turning out Gnomes in large quantities. Several more Gnome manufacturers sprang up round the town. In fact, Thuringia became known as the Gnome capital of Europe.
When war broke out in Europe the German manufacturers closed their business's to concentrate on other things. The next twenty years passed without any significant production.
The 1960's saw several manufacturers making massed produced plastic Gnomes. They were highly coloured, badly painted and could be bought cheaply in the then 'new' Garden Centres which were opening at the time. The day of the quality garden Gnome had long gone and the Gnome began to lose respect and were known for being tacky, tasteless and irredeemably naff. It is said that by the 1990's there were more than five million Gnomes in British gardens but ten years later saw this figure drop to 3.8million. Sales slumped by 68 per cent, making a market once worth £9million a year now worth less than £3million. Even the Royal Horticultural Society, Chelsea Flower Show banned them on the grounds that they were "too tacky".
From the 1990's to the present day, sales of Garden Gnomes in England had hit an all-time low. Gnomes can still be seen, rarely, sitting on shelves in garden centres and occasionally, you may see them residing in suburban gardens.
Hopefully the trend can be reversed, but in the meantime let us preserve their memory. They have brought a lot of happiness and pleasure over the years to so many people.
Report Neighborhood Tyranny
Have you seen garden gnomes in captivity? Report it here. This information will be made available to the Garden Gnome Liberation Front, the Local, Federal, and International authorities, the appropriate amnesty organizations and will be transmitted into space via a powerful, world-class radio astronomy dish.

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