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!

Please place your vote in this month's poll on the sidebar.


Selfsewn said...

What an excellent painting, says much more about her than a portrait could.

I'd love to go to the museum, not sure where godalming is though, I'll go check!

shadows and clouds said...

hello there, i must admit that at first i thought it was a photo, not a painting. i'm afraid i would be the fourth category in the poll...sandals or barefoot weather permitting. old gardening clogs if not.
(p.s. it seems that shadowsandclouds is up and running again, alongside the other)

life in red shoes said...

I wear my bright red Crocs, they hose right off!

Anonymous said...

At this time of year I wear my old working boots or wellies. I was recently given two pairs of unused boots which will be ideal for working on the plot! xx

Poppy said...

Such a beautiful painting!

I wear wellies or trainers, if I’m honest whatever is at the back door.

Love Lou xxx

Anonymous said...

As I garden for other people I wear walking boots - in my own garden in the summer - flip flops!
Wonderful picture of Gardening Boots.

Anonymous said...

I love this painting Louise... I could stare at it all day. I'm not really a gardening person but I'd probably have my reliable walking boots on. (I use the term 'walking' very loosely!)

Anonymous said...

I had to google what Wellingtons are and I'm still not sure what old trainers are, but I call these Wellingtons --- my clod hoppers. I can shed them easily and leave the dirt outside. But I don't use them after the planting because I like to step lightly then. I love Miss Jekyll's boots thank-you for introducing us. xox

this is my patch said...

At last, Countryfile in the evening! I have never understood its Sunday morning timeslot. Surely people who love the outdoors, are invariably outdoors at this time of the day? Being at its new time, at least I will remember to record it, if not watch it! I must say I have found it difficult to settle in to Gardener's World since Toby Buckland took over the helm. Maybe a fresh start in a new garden is all that is needed to rekindle my interest in a programme I used to look forward to. x