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17 Dec 2012

“Black gardener portrait goes to museum”

full length painted portrait of a Black man wearing loose white shirt and trousers, holding a spade
Harold Gilman, Portrait of a Black Gardener (1905). Photo: Christie’s

“The Garden Museum in central London has hundreds of historic images of gardeners, but most are described by the director as ‘a bit battered and sad’ and not one of them is black. Its newly acquired painting of a handsome man leaning on his spade is not only unique in its collection but, according to Christopher Woodward, the museum’s director, unique in British art.
The Black Gardener, originally called The Negro Gardener, was painted by Harold Gilman in 1905. The artist, a keen gardener, lived in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, the world’s first garden city.” (Maev Kennedy in The Guardian, 17 December 2012)