skip to Main Content

Saturday 2nd March. 2024 2pm
Bawdeswell Village Hall, Reepham Road NR20 4RU

The Tate Talk was given this year by Caroline Holmes, a well known speaker and author, on Gertrude Jekyll, the artist and gardener.

Gertrude Jekyll was born in Mayfair in 1843 the fifth of seven children, and died in 1932. She was brought up mainly in Surrey and lived for much of her life at Munstead Wood near Godalming. During her life she undertook 500 different commissions, a great number in association with Edwin Lutyens. She never married.

Gertrude went to Art School and went on to Algeria and Europe, many of her paintings still survive. She had very poor eyesight but a great sense of colour and used a colour wheel to help design her gardens and landscapes. It was thought that her Impressionistic style schemes had much to do with her poor vision.

She is remembered for her outstanding designs and the artistic arrangements of her gardens. Her theory of gardening design was much influenced by J.M.W. Turner and by Impressionism. At her art school she became interested in the creative art of planting and gardening. She went on to study the theory of gardening and to understand the plants themselves.

She was given 15 acres of land at Munstead Wood in Surrey and Edwin Lutyens designed the house she lived in for much of her life. Prior to the house being built she created a border for each month of the year and established plants which naturalised. She always gave names to different parts of the garden. She worked for William Robinson who acquired Gravetye Manor in 1885. Her books on cottage gardens were very popular, she wrote her books as if she was talking to someone. She was also a keen photographer. She wrote many articles for Country Life, and was particularly interested in rural crafts and traditional cottage furnishings. Later in life she collected and contributed a huge array of plants to various institutions across Britain. The majority of her gardens have been lost but a small number have been restored including Munstead Wood, (recently acquired by the National Trust), Hestercombe House in Somerset and the Manor House at Upton Grey, there is also a small walled garden designed by Jekyll at Lindisfarne Castle. She also undertook some overseas commissions including Le Bois de Montier near Dieppe.

Her grave was designed by Lutyens and she is buried in Busbridge churchyard.

The talk was very much enjoyed by a full village hall and was followed by tea and cake.

Back To Top