For much of the nineteenth century, the inhabitants of Fingask were a bachelor, Sir Peter, the last Threipland baronet, and his three spinster sisters. No one knows why they had the statues installed. No one knows if they commissioned those specific subjects or if they were bought as it were ‘off the shelf’. Whether they commissioned them or chose them from among Anderson’s existing pieces, no one knows why they dose those subjects rather than others. The whole assemblage of topiary remains fascinating because the reasons behind its existence are so mysterious.
In recent years, Andrew Threipland has moved many of the statues from their original positions, because, as he puts it, ‘I thought they looked like a graveyard’. Now they have mostly become formal vista-stoppers at various points throughout the garden. For example, Pitt and the Three Jolly Beggars now contemplate each other – disapprovingly in Pitt’s case,
bibulously in that of the beggars – from either end of The Parade, a long grassed promenade running out from the side of the Castle. Moving them has had obvious advantages – but obvious disadvantages, too.