The Story of Snapper at the Norfolk Botanical Garden

Snapper, from Garden of Destiny: The Norfolk Botanical Garden – A Natural Treasure, by Amy Waters Yarsinske
The story of Snapper and so much more is part of Amy Waters Yarsinske’s forthcoming book Garden of Destiny: The Norfolk Botanical Garden – A Natural Treasure.
Snapper, from Garden of Destiny: The Norfolk Botanical Garden – A Natural Treasure, by Amy Waters Yarsinske
The story of Snapper and so much more is part of Amy Waters Yarsinske’s forthcoming book Garden of Destiny: The Norfolk Botanical Garden – A Natural Treasure.

Part of Amy Waters Yarsinske’s forthcoming book Garden of Destiny: The Norfolk Botanical Garden – A Natural Treasure, is the story of Snapper.  The turtles that abound in the lakes and reservoir around the Norfolk Botanical Garden inspired artist Jean Cole Owen to sculpt a larger-than-life (or just a very large snapping turtle) version for the garden.  Snapper (shown in this December 28, 2015 photograph) was modeled from an actual snapping turtle that crawled from the waters of the Little Creek Reservoir into the path of the artist. He was held captive until the model for the statue was completed.  Snapper went through a lengthy drying period due to his size, which took Owen more time than anticipated to complete the statue, which was done in terracotta.  Snapper was completed on July 25, 1961. Owen also created a boxed small replica of Snapper that was sold through director Fred Heutte’s office and, after the tea house was opened, the souvenir counter in that building. Jean Owen’s Snapper was the first piece of statuary acquired by Heutte for the botanical garden’s outdoor art museum.  Though Owen worked in bronze, concrete and terracotta, she chose terracotta for Snapper because of the expense of the bronze, which would have precluded her donating the sculpture without great cost incurred.  She and Heutte debated the issue through extensive correspondence and conversation but in the end Owen convinced him the terracotta would be durable enough to last.  Snapper was first placed on the apron of the boat basin but is today located in the Figure Eight Garden on the north side of the Renaissance Court.  The story of Snapper and so much more is in Amy Waters Yarsinske’s forthcoming book Garden of Destiny: The Norfolk Botanical Garden – A Natural Treasure, due for release in March 2016, just in time for the garden’s LanternAsia exhibit. 

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