Gertrude Jekyll, Artist, Gardener and Craftswoman, was born in 1843. She was in her 40s when she bought this pair of men's boots and was still wearing them, much repaired, at the time of her death in 1932. She said 'I suppose no horse likes a new collar, I am quite sure I do not like new boots'.
After early training as an artist, Gertrude Jekyll moved into garden design as her eyesight began to fail. She lived in Munstead, Godalming, in a house designed for her by Sir Edwin Lutyens - the beginning of a long and fruitful professional partnership. Both were inspired by the landscape and traditional materials and skills of the Surrey countryside. Jekyll's gardens were admired for their natural feel and use of colour.
Her boots communicate her practical, hands-on approach,(and perhaps her dislike of change). William Nicholson's painting of the boots, produced while waiting for a reluctant Jekyll to sit for him, is in the Tate. The portrait is in the National Portrait Gallery. Jekyll commented 'I wish it could have represented a more beautiful object'. The boots themselves are in the Guildford Museum collection and can currently be seen in Godalming Museum.