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Impressionists in Their Gardens explores gardens through the senses of the Impressionists from three continents – Europe, North America and Australia – enjoying the essentially similar pleasures of the garden, but engaging with the light from their skies in order to create very different sensations. The enclosure of the garden acts like a picture frame showcasing a living canvas that exudes the individuality, vision and taste of its tenants, their family, friends, lifestyles and, in the simple words of the greatest Impressionist and gardener Monet, providing motifs to paint. The first section uses contemporary paintings and photographs to see the who, what and where of Impressionist gardens – planting, eating, loving, sleeping, children, animals, working and painting. The second section, illustrated with paintings, old photographs and modern images, starts at the horticultural source – the nurseryman Latour-Marliac at Temple sur Lot, then Monet at Giverny; American Impressionists at Old Lyme, Cos Cob and Appledore in the USA; Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood and beyond; the Heidelburg School and Frederick McCubbin at Fontainebleau; and, chronologically last but not least, Renoir at Les Colettes.
Caroline Holmes' travels have enabled her to take this unique approach, as a garden historian and gardener she understands how weather has shaped and formed the earth's sublime topography and how the control of the human hand is beautifully displayed in its fine crafted gardens, observed and colourfully captured by these artists. Join her in the garden for the great pleasures of solitude and sociability; food and friendship; sound and scent; cool shade and balmy warmth, not forgetting glorious colour.