Gertrude Jekyll (Sally Festing)

Gertrude Jekyll (Sally Festing) lands on the shelves of my shop, where it will be found in my Biography section. priced at £6.50! Call in and get 40% OFF that price when you mention this post…

London: Viking, 1991, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Contains: Black & white photographs; Black & white drawings; References;

From the cover: Gertrude Jekyll was a woman with a mission that filled almost nine tireless decades: she was an artist, craftswoman, garden designer, photographer, businesswoman and writer of enlightening prose. Her early years with their abiding family links held the secrets of her success, the Arts and Crafts Movement provided a template and Ruskin kindled her burgeoning imagination: his call for truth threw her back to nature; his gospel made her look, really look as an artist does at the West Surrey countryside.

She is often portrayed as a talented plantswoman, doyenne of herbaceous borders, playing a subordinate role to various architects. Not all that is said about her is untrue, but twenty-five years of exposure, unsupported by any significant biographical information, have produced a considerably distorted popular impression of her. Part of the myth she compounded herself. Even the most enduring image we have of her, William Nicholsons Queen Victoria portrait, is in many ways an artefact: her clothes were generally frumpish and the picture of assumed quiescence came from a woman who well understood how to manipulate a tricky world. Full of deep natural urges, she was far more complicated, more abrasive, autocratic, impatient, fun-loving and lovable than she is made out to be. What was the nature of her relationship with Lutyens? Why was she so secretive?

As an artist she lived in her gardens, books and photographs, but what were the forces that influenced this mistress of legerdemain and her worlds of strange ordered beauty? This new book explores the contradictions of a single woman who overcame entrenched social and professional mores.

Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. A little faded at the spine and onto the margins of the panels. Text complete, clean and tight.

Burgundy boards with Silver titling to the Spine. [XII] 322 pages. Index. Bibliography. 9½” x 6¼”.

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