Sir William Nicholson

Miss Jekyll’s Gardening Boots

1920

Artist
Sir William Nicholson 1872–1949
Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 324 x 400 mm
frame: 595 x 673 x 57 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Lady Emily Lutyens 1944
Reference
N05548

On loan to: Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (Paris, France)

Exhibition: Jardins

Display caption

Gertrude Jekyll was a well known garden designer, who often worked in collaboration with the architect Edwin Lutyens. In 1920 she was seventy-six, and quite difficult. It is said that Nicholson painted this picture of her boots while he was waiting the opportunity of a sitting, as she would only allow this in the late afternoon. However, Nicholson enjoyed finding the revelation of character in clothing. He had painted other pictures of shoes, and of a hat.

The painting is dedicated 'For E.L.', and was a gift to Lutyens. Nicholson's portrait of Miss Jekyll is at the National Portrait Gallery.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

N05548 MISS JEKYLL'S GARDENING BOOTS 1920

Inscr. ‘Nicholson 1920’ b.l. and ‘For E L ... W.N’ t.r.
Oil on plywood, 12 3/4×15 3/4 (32·5×40), including red painted border approximately 1/4 (0·75) wide.
Presented by Lady Emily Lutyens 1944.
Coll: Presented by the artist to Sir Edwin Lutyens 1920.
Exh: Beaux Arts Gallery, July 1927 (75); Nottingham, March–April 1933 (95); Beaux Arts Gallery, May–June 1933 (41); British Country Life through The Centuries, 39 Grosvenor Square, June 1937 (392, repr. Souvenir, p.43); National Gallery, January 1942 (35).
Lit: E. V. Lucas, ‘Miss Gertrude Jekyll’ in Country Life, LXXI, 1932, p.536, repr.; Steen, 1943, p.140; Browse, 1956, p.72.

Painted in 1920 to accompany the portrait of Miss Jekyll commissioned by Sir Edwin Lutyens and now in the National Portrait Gallery (repr. Steen, 1943, facing p.144; Nichols, 1948, pl.16). Miss Gertrude Jekyll, an enthusiastic horticulturist, died in 1932 at the age of eighty-nine; she used to wear this old pair of army boots for gardening. A pair of her boots and other relics are exhibited with her horticultural collection at the Guildford Museum.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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