On Monday I got to enjoy one of the perks of being a Governor. We went on a tour of The Laskett Gardens, home of Sir Roy Strong who is one of the fellows of our college. Roy Strong was a very influential curator of the V&A as well as the National Portrait Gallery, so despite the fact I should have been helping take down the point six six exhibition I wasn't going to miss this opportunity.
I did a bit of research before going and found this description on their website:
The Laskett Gardens are the largest private formal gardens to be created in England since 1945. Over almost four decades the historian, Sir Roy Strong, and his late wife, the designer Dr Julia Trevelyan Oman, transformed a four acre field into a series of stunning garden rooms, vistas, ascents and descents. These include a rose garden, pleached lime avenue, orchard, kitchen garden, knot garden, fountains, statuary and parterres as well as a spectacular array of topiary and rich herbaceous and prairie style borders. Uniquely, the garden tells the story of both their marriage and their creative lives in the arts.
I was intrigued and ready for a fun afternoon. And I wasn't disappointed. sir Roy himself was a charming, knowledgeable man who spoke passionately about the gardens. I even got a few minutes to talk to him about my work and his late wife's love of quilting. The gardens themselves are arranged as 'rooms', each with it's own identity and feeling. there was so much to look at and explore that consulting the map was a necessity!
I found myself being inspired by the wonderful tiles and pathways that snake all through the gardens, made from a mix of materials from traditional paving slabs to Victorian ceramic tiles, all pulled together in a joyful explosion of ideas. Once again I found myself missing my sketchbook - I could happily have sat down and drawn for hours, or until my hayfever got the better of me!
I took lots of pictures and I have already started sketching ideas from them. Here are a few of my favourites: