Over the summer we partnered with Sheffield Botanical Gardens for a celebration of Scottish landscape gardener, horticulturalist and writer Robert Marnock (1800 – 1889).
As well as being designer and curator of botanical gardens in Sheffield and London, Marnock undertook a substantial number of private commissions across the country, plus sites in Italy and Belgium. He was also a successful nurseryman and plant breeder, and produced several gardening publications, including the Floricultural Magazine.
Funded in part by the Heritage Fund, the celebration aimed to raise awareness of Marnock’s name and legacy in Sheffield and more widely, and to share and build expert knowledge about his life, style and involvement at particular sites.
As part of the celebration, around three dozen events took place at sites throughout England with links to Marnock, including guided walks, talks, exhibitions, virtual trails, volunteer training, art events and open days. It also acted as a stimulus for county garden trusts and others around the country to undertake new research on Marnock, re-examine known materials, commission new photography and plan improved interpretation.
Our Garden History journal included an article by Jan Woudstra on Marnock’s creation of Alexandra Park in Hastings while a public realm art project saw his image reimagined as street art in Tunbridge Wells.
An episode of the BBC’s Bargain Hunt included a feature on Marnock, with GT trustee Jill Sinclair explaining about his role as creator of Sheffield Botanical Gardens as she showed presenter Danny Alexander around the Grade II registered gardens.
Filmed during the summer celebrations, the episode aired this month and can be viewed here.
The Celebrating Marnock project has created a permanent online exhibition, including an interactive map of Marnock sites from northern Scotland to west Wales and the south coast of England, plus three dozen articles about different aspects of his life and work. The site at www.sbg.org.uk/celebrating-marnock was viewed over 5,500 times during the celebrations.
Please contact Jill if you have new information or images about Marnock that you’d like to see shared on the site.
Top image: 1850 lithograph of Sheffield Botanical Gardens from a drawing by Isaac Shaw. From a private collection.