Not Miss Jekyll’s gardening boots.
Last week Janet and I travelled to London to see the superb, temporary exhibition of garden-inspired paintings currently on show at the Royal Academy of Arts. ‘Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse’* features over 120 (mostly) Impressionist paintings of flowers and gardens and the stories behind them.
Tucked away amongst the floral masterpieces and photographs of the Impressionist masters at work and play was a small, sombre painting, created in 1920 by the artist Sir William Nicholson. The painting, normally held at the Tate Gallery, features a pair of old gardening boots owned and cherished by celebrated garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. You can take a look on the Tate website here.
Seeing this oil painting reminded me of a photograph I took of an equally well-used pair of gardening boots in an old allotment shed in North Manchester. Garden footwear fashions may have changed a little over the years, and I’m not sure what Miss Jekyll would have made of modern Doc Martens, but the ‘job well done’ message they symbolise is timeless.
*Catch the exhibition while you can – it runs until April 20th.