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Derek Jarman: My Garden’s Boundaries are the Horizon

This summer, to celebrate the Art Fund’s successful campaign to rescue Derek Jarman’s Cottage for the nation, the Garden Museum is holding the first exhibition to focus on his garden, Derek Jarman: My Garden’s Boundaries are the Horizon.

Digging deeper into the stories told in My Garden’s Boundaries are the Horizon, this online exhibition looks at Derek’s garden, art, activism, inspirations and legacy. Explore films, interviews with his collaborators, friends and admirers, Howard Sooley’s iconic Prospect Cottage photography, stories and objects from the Garden Museum Collection.

This online exhibition was made possible with Art Fund support.

Jarman’s Sketchbooks

Throughout his career Derek Jarman kept sketchbooks which he purchased in northern Italy. He often started a new project by blocking out the album’s original leather binding with paint and embellishing it with gold. Each book offers a unique insight into Derek’s imagination and working practices. The books are on one level scrapbooks recording projects with notes and photographs, but they are receptacles for concepts for projects yet realised…


‘My Garden’s Boundaries are the Horizon’ Exhibition Film

This film specially produced for our online exhibition includes contributions from artists Jordan Mooney and Rich Porter, Prospect Cottage gardener Jonny Bruce, actor Julian Sands, and botanist Mark Spencer, a member of queer protest group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who ‘canonised’ Jarman in 1991. And enjoy a peek into the exhibition, which features elements of Prospect Cottage recreated in the Museum.

Howard Sooley’s Photography

In 1990 Howard Sooley was commissioned to photograph Derek Jarman at Prospect Cottage. He soon became a regular visitor to Dungeness and remembers  “that summer I spent more and more time on the ness gardening with Derek and less time working as a photographer. The preceding few years I’d been working hard, travelling back and forth, but wound up exhausted rather than happy”.


Derek Jarman and Gerard’s Herbal

Herbalist John Gerard (1545–1612) published The Herball of Generall Historie of Plantes in 1597. Jarman owned a copy and it was one of the books that inspired him as a gardener. Printed herbals were used by apothecaries to guide them when making pills and medicines described by physicians and he used it to research the plants he found growing on the ness as well as those he collected further afield for the garden at Prospect Cottage.


Dr Mark Spencer remembers being part of the queer protest group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who ‘canonised’ Jarman in 1991. Mark is a botanist whose expertise includes forensic botany, the plants of North-west Europe, invasive species and the history of botanical science.

Jordan Mooney: “He always saw possibilities”

Punk icon Jordan Mooney starred as as Amyl Nitrate in Jubilee (1978), and met Derek Jarman whilst working at Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood’s King’s Road boutique, Sex.


Jonny Bruce: Gardening at Prospect Cottage

After Derek’s death in 1994 the garden was cared for by his partner Keith Collins, and in the last years of his life Jonny Bruce assisted him. In this film Jonny explores the continued legacy of Derek’s garden and its guardianship.


Julian Sands on Derek Jarman

Actor Julian Sands looks back on the years he and Jarman spent working together, and reads extracts from Jarman’s garden journals and poetry.


James Mackay: Derek Jarman and Super 8 Film

Jarman’s frequent producer James Mackay, who produced films including The Angelic Conversation (1985), The Garden (1990) and Blue, chats about Nizo cameras, their collborations, and Jarman’s prolific Super 8 film work.


Richard Porter on Derek Jarman

Artist Richard Porter, whose work explores issues around queer identity, myth, memory and time, talks about Jarman’s enduring influence and the importance of the work he created at Prospect Cottage after his HIV diagnosis.