William Nicholson 1920 © Tate 2004
In 1920 William Nicholson was commissioned to paint a portrait of the gardener Gertrude Jekyll. She didn’t relish the prospect, and only agreed after a good show of resistance as 'I think ugly people had better not be painted’. While he waited for Jekyll, Nicholson occupied himself making this study of her gardening boots. He perhaps had in mind Van Gogh’s paintings of boots and other personal objects which stand in for a person. In many ways it sums up her character better than the final portrait. Jekyll’s boots are now in Godalming Museum, along with other Jekyll memorabilia.
What kind of footwear do you wear when gardening? I must confess I am an old trainers kind of person!
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