Fashion & Gardens Spring/Summer – Autumn/Winter

Lady Birley by Valerie Finnis - Copyright RHS

Have you ever been to the Garden Museum? It is perhaps easy to overlook tucked away in St Mary’s church on Lambeth Palace Road, but if you haven’t been then do visit – not only because this self-funded museum relies entirely on its visitors, but also because the museum has just opened Fashion & Gardens Spring/Summer – Autumn/Winter – a tiny but nonetheless fascinating show that charts the relationship between what we grow and what we wear. Kicking off with the incredibly formal gardens of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries, curator Nicola Shulman explores how garden design has been woven into dresses, accessories and even head-dresses. There are beautiful botanical prints (made into exquisite silks in Spitalfields) and portraits that illustrate not only how closely the dual themes are interlinked, but also how gardens later evolved through the romantic era. Our only complaint is that we were left wanting more and although it’s the first time this subject has been explored it does make us think that someone surely will take this up on a broader scale – it’s such an intriguing subject. There’s a lovely limited edition accompanying book – the cover has the wonderful portrait of Lady Birley taken by Valerie Finnis (pictured opposite) whose work inspired an entire Burberry collection back in 2009. It was one of our favourite shows with its artfully dishevelled macs and crinkly knits and sublime soft palette – and now that we have discovered Finnis’ work we understand why.

Fashion & Gardens Spring/Summer - Autumn/Winter
Until 27th April; Sun - Fri 10.30am - 5pm; Sat 10.30am - 4pm. Closed the first Monday of each month.
Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 7LB
£7.50; Senior Citizens £4; Students/Concessions £3
020 7401 8865
— Clare
12th February 2014

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