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. 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. 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.


Peter Langan.

Garden Museum

Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, London, Greater London, SE1 7LB
020 7401 8865

Opening times

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

Exhibitions at Garden Museum

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