Above is a Chilstone composite stone pedestal mounted with a brass armillary sphere that I made myself. I have often been asked to make brass ornaments like these as they are hard to come by. This piece is for a National Trust garden in East Grinstead.
After much practicing, I have mastered the technique and I can now also engrave messages onto the item. They do not have to be memorials, they can be a retirement gift, an anniversary present, a gift from an old boy to his school - there can be lots of reasons to create such a piece - and you can be sure that it will be treasured for many years.
Armillaries are very popular in fine gardens as they catch the sun and direct the eye to particular areas that might be overlooked (a particularly fine prospect, a particular plant or to indicate the extent of the garden )- for example.
They are an alternative to the also very popular sundial and refer to the passage of the sun through the ecliptic, ie the sun moves through the Zodiac, which is on the plane of the ecliptic - anyway, Ahem! what it lacks in accuracy it makes up for in attractiveness.