Visitors to the Scarlet often say that The Angel – the iconic sandblasted and lime-washed wooden figure that stands in our entrance lobby – is an important part of their Scarlet experience. Her serene countenance seems to cast an air of calm over the entire hotel.
Perhaps you’ve noticed, though, if you’ve stayed with us before, that when you walk into the hotel, The Angel doesn’t face you to greet you and welcome you in. Rather, she stands with her back to you, contemplating the magnificent view out over the infinity pool to the Atlantic beyond. This can give you a strange, almost out of body experience. You walk in, you see the view, then you see the wooden figure looking at the view. The effect can be mysterious and beguiling, as though you’ve stepped outside your self, as though you are seeing a strange and beautiful echo of yourself.
Given how important she is to the Scarlet experience, we thought you might like to know a little more about The Angel, and the artist who made her.
She was carved by sculptor Jilly Sutton, a long-time friend of the Scarlet whose husband, Peter Sutton, is one of the architects who designed the hotel.
Jilly lives and works on the banks of the River Dart in Devon, surrounded by trees. She sources locally felled and fallen timber to create her calm, contemplative pieces.
Most are carved from single pieces of wood. However, The Angel is hewn from Monterey Pine and eucalyptus wood. Jilly used pine for the head, torso and skirt as it’s one of the hardest of the soft woods and doesn’t split easily. She fashioned The Angel’s wings from a eucalyptus tree that had fallen in her garden. Unlike pine, eucalyptus fractures when carved, creating tiny lace-like fissures that suggest the gossamer of an angel’s wings.
She sandblasts the wood to take away the tree’s summer growth rings, leaving the harder denser winter rings standing proud to give the unique, grainy character.