The colour of creation: Gertrude Jekyll and the art of flowers.


Flowers were central to the life and work of Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), one of the 20th century's most influential garden designers. Born of parents with interests across a broad range of the art-science spectrum, Miss Jekyll developed an early interest in many arts and crafts, including painting and gardening in particular. During her course at the Central School of Design in Kensington she studied closely the work of JMW Turner. Many of the compositional elements of Turner's paintings, especially his use of colour, can be seen in Miss Jekyll's subsequent designs for c. 250 gardens. The use of blue and yellow flowers to create a sense of light, and the contrast of cool blue flowers and grey foliage with vivid reds and oranges are recurrent themes in her planting schemes, but many other aspects of her designs also reflect her broad interest in the art, craft, and science of plant cultivation. She encouraged others to seek the satisfaction offered by gardening as an art, convinced that a life spent seeking perfection would gradually yield 'the power of intelligent combination, the nearest thing we can know to the mighty force of creation'.

DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erm070

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@article{Bisgrove2013TheCO, title={The colour of creation: Gertrude Jekyll and the art of flowers.}, author={Richard Bisgrove}, journal={Journal of experimental botany}, year={2013}, volume={64 18}, pages={5783-9} }