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Photograph of Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage

In the 1980s, Jarman, a painter and film-maker, bought a derelict fisherman’s hut on Dungeness, a shingle beach overlooked menacingly by a nuclear power station.  This became his home Prospect Cottage and, despite a plethora of barriers to successfully growing plants here, he threw himself in to gardening the surrounding land. Jarman made a garden without boundaries that combined plants with sculptures made of found objects such as stones, driftwood and the debris of old fishing boats.

The garden is a work of art reflecting Jarman’s life. From 1986 he was living with HIV and died from an AIDS related illness in 1994. He described his garden and gardening as an act of love and grief, as he lost close friends to the disease: ‘a memorial, each circular bed and dial a true lover’s knot’. Jarman used the garden at Prospect Cottage and surrounding landscape for scenes in his films The Last of England (1987) and The Garden (1990).

This photograph taken by Howard Sooley shows Jarman watering a raised bed with a bank of plants and bee skep behind. Jarman created the garden by hand, digging into the shingle, building beds and banks to help with the difficult growing conditions.

Ref: 2012.048.8


Howard Sooley



Associated Person

Derek Jarman



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