Prospect Cottage. Derek Jarman’s fishermen cottage in Dungeness

Visit to Dungeness 2012.

When I first visited Dungeness in 2012, I felt captivated by the expansive landscape. Once there , you feel you are under the dome of a vast sky. I am interested in showing how architecture appears in a landscape. At Dungeness the modest Derek Jarman’s fisherman’s cottage sits surrounded by his garden on a sea of shingles under a boundless sky.

Visit to the Garden Museum. London Summer 2020.

In July 2020 I visited the Garden Museum in London to see an exhibition called DEREK JARMAN: MY GARDEN’S BOUNDARIES ARE THE HORIZON.

In 1977 The Garden Museum was founded by Rosemary and John Nicholson in the abandoned church of St Mary’s at Lambeth, which was due for demolition. The church is the burial place of John Tradescant, the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history. (c1570 – 1638)

For the exhibition and with great skill a replica of the iconic cottage was built under one of the naves of the church. It created a wonderful sensorial experience cleverly designed by stage designer Jeremy Herbert. The exhibition was supported by The Linbury Trust and focuses on Jarman’s love of gardening, and the role of the garden in his life and work.

Sketch of the exhibition at the Garden Museum

‘I have never been happier than last week. I look up and see the deep azure sea outside my window in the February sun, and today I saw my first bumble bee. Planted lavender and clumps of red hot poker.’ Derek Jarman.

The exhibition at the Garden Museum displayed paintings and sculptures, on loan from The Keith Collins Will Trust, from throughout Jarman’s career. The book and catalogue of the exhibition is beautifully cloth-bound and illustrated with photos of the garden at Prospect Cottage, Jarman’s childhood, film stills, artworks and garden journals, and includes reminiscences and essays by Howard Sooley, Anna Pavord, and Christopher Lloyd.

About Derek Jarman.

His book ‘At your onw risk’ is a vital fundamental description of his journey of being gay and the AIDS crisis. Another book titled ‘Derek Jarman’s Garden’ describes his man made paradise in the arid landscape of Dungeness when living on borrowed time with positive HIV status when the treatment was experimental and often not adequate in the early days of the global epidemic. The thought of having the end of life near it is a trigger in some of us for despair, but for others is a trigger to enjoy life at its maximum and question what is all about in order to find meaning and justice. Derek was never short to denounce injustice and in his books finds pleasure in the smallest flower that with a struggle grows in the shingle. His garden is an experiment of life and art, of creation and survival where native and foreign plants grow together, possibly mimicking the creative society he often surrounded himself with. Local sea kale, Iberian gorse, Californian poppies, valerian, lichen, that is a composite organism. Derek finds beauty in decay, beachcombing to gather old rusted irons and half rotten timbers.

Prospect Cottage: art prints

There is extensive literature and art material available on Derek Jarman. I have read some of his books and visited his house in Dungeness on many occasions to form a mental vision of his life and work. Inspired by it, I have created through the years a number of art prints that showcase Prospect Cottage and the surrounding landscape. you can find them bellow available to purchase.


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