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The Subtle Science and Exact Art of Colour in English Garden Design – why gardening can rank as Fine Art
13th June 2023
Presented by Timothy Walker


In 1882 Gertrude Jekyll wrote a short but seminal article in The Garden in which she urged the readers to “remember that in a garden we are painting a picture”.  As an accomplished watercolour artist, Miss Jekyll was familiar with the principles of using colours, but she felt that in gardens these principles “had been greatly neglected”. 


This talk looks at how to apply these principles in designing a border, but it also looks at the ways in which a border is different from a painting.  However, it goes further than this and looks at how contemporary work of the likes of Turner, Monet, Rothko, Jackson Pollack evolved in parallel with ideas about what a garden or border should look like.

Profile – Timothy Walker

From 1988 to 2014 was the Director of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden.  Botanic gardens are often described as living museums, and garden curators lecture about them in the same way as museum curators talk about their collections. Gardens are often thought of a place where science and art meet on equal terms and my lectures often investigate this relationship.  Since 2014 he has been a college lecturer and tutor in Botany and Plant Conservation at Somerville College Oxford.

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