Garden Museum acquires unique Gilman portrait

The Art Fund has helped the Garden Museum in London purchase Portrait of a Black Gardener by Harold Gilman at auction.

Portrait of a Black Gardener, Harold Gilman, dated to 1905

Portrait of a Black Gardener, Harold Gilman, dated to 1905

This enigmatic image, originally entitled Portrait of a Negro Gardener was painted by Gilman in 1905 and is an important cultural and historic artefact; it is also likely to be the earliest example in 20th century British art of a person of sub-Saharan origin to be the sole subject of a full-length portrait.

Although the sitter is thought to be a model, this unique acquisition will help the museum re-orientate its collection towards the diversity of a central London audience.

Gilman, a keen gardener himself, was a pupil at The Slade together with Spencer Gore, Wyndham Lewis, and was a founder member of Walter Sickert’s Camden Town School.

The Art Fund gave a grant of £5,000 towards the full cost of the painting which was bought at auction for £127,000; further funds were raised via the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Royal Horticultural Society.

Venue details

Garden Museum Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth London SE1 7LB 020 7401 8865 www.gardenmuseum.org.uk

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £7.50)

Opening hours: Sunday to Friday: 10.30 – 17.00 
Saturday: 10.30 – 16.00 
Closed the first Monday of the month

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