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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 15:44 GMT
Historical find at sculptor's house
statues
The terracotta sculptures date back to the 1800s
A group of life-size statues have been unearthed in the back garden of a Devon house.

The terracotta sculptures date back to the 19th Century but little is known about them.

Now historians have been called in to determine the origin of the figures.

The discovery was made by a building developer in Plymouth.

statue in wall
The figures show people of different nationalities
The statues are a bonus for the property developer who recently bought the house.

Christopher Parsonage said: "When we came to buy the properties we were more interested in the inside of the buildings.

"We were very excited really, they are part of the heritage of Plymouth and it is great to have them here.

But Mr Parsonage is keen that anyone in the city can go and see them.

He said: "We'd like them to go on show to the public because they date back to the early 1800s and people should be able to see them.

"We'd like them to go to the museum on permanent loan."

'Classical art'

Although the deeds to the property mentioned the statues, they had been hidden.

Now uncovered, they show a range of figures of different nationalities.

statue
Experts are trying to find where they came from
Mr Parsonage explained: "There are figures from all over the world, but we don't know how they came to pick certain figures.

"We are looking to find out who made them and where they originated from."

For sculptor Richard Clark, the current tenant of the house, they are of particular interest.

"They need a bit of restoration, but generally they are in good condition and are a good example of classical art.

"It is nice to have these statues to look at in the morning. You get the same reaction from everyone, they are astounded that they are in this little backyard."

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