This series looks at the multifarious ways in which the artist has impacted upon our understanding and perception of the British garden from the seventeenth century to the present day.

Lecture 1: Introduction: The Artist and the Garden

Technical difficulties have delayed the publication of the first recording. This will be made available at a later date.

This introductory talk explores the relationship between making art, and making gardens, and celebrates the particularly British tradition of the ‘artist-gardener’, as embodied by figures from Humphry Repton and Gertrude Jekyll to Cedric Morris and Derek Jarman. We will also look at the influence on paintings on garden design from the 18th-century to the 20th-century master, Russell Page. And why do so many artists – such as Jekyll and Page – turn to landscape design? And, we ask, is a garden a work of art – or something much more important than that?

Lecture 2: The Art of Landscape Gardening

Stephen Daniels

Humphry Repton (1752-1818) coined the term landscape gardening and described his practise as an art. In this, his bicententary year, this lecture explores what sort of art Repton’s landscape gardening was, how it related to other graphic and literary arts of the time, particularly in his famous Red Books and published works, and how it has shaped landscape design in the past two centuries.

Lecture 3: Country Gardens

Martin Postle

The talk explores the role of the artist in visualising the country garden from the later 19th century to the present day. The focus is upon modest rural plots; cottage gardens and allotments, notably those owned by artist gardeners. Among the artists to be discussed are Alfred Parsons, Cedric Morris, John Nash, Stanley Spencer, Ivon Hitchens, Patrick Heron and Derek Jarman.

Lecture 4: Land Art and the Garden

Joy Sleeman and Nicholas Alfrey

This lecture looks at the radical new landscape art of the later 1960s and early 1970s, now more generally known as ‘Land art’, in relation to the garden. Artists had begun to make work directly in the landscape, by-passing the studio and re-thinking the conventions of exhibition, but there was no consensus about attitudes to the garden as a potential location. Whereas the influential American artists Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt were interested in the tradition of landscape gardening in Britain, visiting significant sites here in 1969, their British counterparts were more likely to resist the ideas of tradition, property and enclosure. Some artists saw the potential of the vernacular garden as an outdoor space in which to make challenging new work, while on the other hand, Ian Hamilton Finlay began to establish a remarkable neo-classical garden at Stonypath in the bleak Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, conceived both as a setting for works of art and as a work of art in its own right.

Lecture 5: Three Perfections: Eileen Hogan and Urban Space

Todd Longstaff-Gowan.

Todd Longstaffe-Gowan maps out some of Eileen Hogan’s intellectual points of reference, formal preoccupations, and thematic choices, particularly with regards to the urban landscape as represented in her paintings.