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A Gardener's Labyrinth

Past exhibition archive
25 June - 19 October 2003

Porter Gallery

Admission Free

Supported by

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Following a recent commission from the National Portrait Gallery to photograph important British horticulturalists for its collection, Tessa Traeger and Patrick Kinmonth have photographed over 50 sitters working in the field, including gardeners, garden history writers, plant finders, garden designers and artists who are shaping new attitudes to plants and gardens.

The exhibition represents a cross-section of every aspect of gardening in the British Isles and is divided into sections in which the history of the British garden and a view of the contemporary gardener will be examined and considered:

The Garden Proposed examines the attitudes and inspirations that inform contemporary garden design, from the gardens of Dan Pearson and Penelope Hobhouse to the new developments in British land art and the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Andy Goldsworthy.

The Garden Described features leading garden historians and writers, including Anna Pavord, Robin Lane Fox and Roy Strong.

The Garden Planted explores the different worlds of plant husbandry, from nurserymen to specialist rose growers, the Chelsea Flower Show expert and the organic gardener, and includes Beth Chatto, Valerie Finnis, Bob Flowerdew and Christopher Lloyd.

The Garden Preserved reveals a particularly British aspect, -the living heritage of great gardens in all their diversity. Portraits of gardens and their owners, head gardeners and garden pioneers, including Angelika Cawdor (Cawdor Castle) and John Sales (Stourhead) chart both the grandest restorations and the most dramatic transformations.

The Garden Explored deals with the extraordinary tradition and continuing British excellence in plant scholarship, expedition and exploration which, since the eighteenth century, has been a remarkable aspect of the British garden. Christopher Brickell of the Royal Horticultural Society and Tim Smit of the Eden Project feature, amongst others, in this section.

David Charles Henshaw Austin
by Tessa Traeger
NPG P1026(1)

Alan Bloom
by Tessa Traeger
NPG P1026(4)

Beth Chatto
by Tessa Traeger
NPG P1026(8)


Charles Alexander Jencks
by Tessa Traeger
NPG P1026(18)

Tony Lord
by Tessa Traeger
NPG P1026(28)

Alongside each portrait will be a photograph of the garden most closely associated with the sitter, including Kew Gardens (Ghillean Prance), The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (Charles Jencks), Gresgarth Hall (Arabella Lennox-Boyd) as well as Sissinghurst (Ann Scott-James), Waddesdon Manor (Beth Rothschild), Mottisfont Rose Garden (Graham Stuart Thomas), Bodnant (Martin Puddle HG) and Helmingham Hall (Xa Tollemache).

Tessa Traeger is one of the outstanding still-life photographers of her generation and has exhibited regularly since 1978 in Paris, London, Hamburg and New York. She is especially known for her photographs taken on large format cameras, many of which were published during her long association with British Vogue. Her collaborator on this project, Patrick Kinmonth, is known as a writer on photography, artistic director and opera designer. The exhibition is curated and designed by Patrick Kinmonth, who has also written the accompanying publication.

A Gardener's Labyrinth: People Plants and Places by Tessa Traeger and Patrick Kinmonth will be published in June by Booth Clibborn Editions, 304pp, price £59.95 (hardback). For further information please contact Andrew Ferguson at Purple Public Relations Ltd on 020 7439 9888 or email [email protected]


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