Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), well known as a landscape garden designer, was trained as an artist and produced at least one important oil painting. She designed around 350 – 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and America; her influence on garden design has been pervasive to this day.
She grew up in Surrey, studying art, and exhibiting once at the Royal Academy in 1865, the same year she painted her interesting Jehu Driving Furiously, a vigorous and arresting picture showing a horse-drawn chariot galloping full-pelt towards the viewer. This picture, exhibited at the Society of Female Artists, was noted by Ruskin, and is now to be seen at the Museum of Garden History in Lambeth.
After a period in Berkshire from 1869, Jekyll returned to Surrey in the mid-1870s where she became interested in the fast-vanishing village life of the area, photographing and forming her own collection of furniture and items of local interest. In the 1890s she began to work with the architect Edwin Lutyens, conceiving a series of gardens for the country houses he designed. She published a book on ‘Old West Surrey’ in 1904.
Gertrude Jekyll donated her collection of Surrey artefacts to the local museum in Guildford.
Her brother, Walter, was a friend of the famous author, Robert Louis Stevenson; the family name may have been borrowed for the title of his famous novel Jekyll & Hyde. Her younger brother was Sir Herbert Jekyll (1846-1932).
The Formal Garden she created at Hestercombe between 1904 and 1908 in collaboration with Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) is considered to be the best surviving example of their celebrated partnership.
Link/cite this page
If you use any of the content on this page in your own work, please use the code below to cite this page as the source of the content.
Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "Gertrude Jekyll" https://englishhistory.net/victorian/famous-people/gertrude-jekyll/, February 17, 2022