The world-famous garden made by Derek Jarman at his home, Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, is much visited and widely featured, but the house has long remained closed to the public. We are now finally permitted to open the door onto this previously undisturbed, unseen world, itself an artistic testament.
The background to the book is a poignant story of love and loss. After Derek Jarman’s death, Prospect Cottage passed to his longtime companion Keith Collins, who changed only one thing: introducing curtains to prevent visitors to the garden from peering in. When Collins died suddenly in 2018, Gilbert McCarragher, a friend and neighbor in Dungeness, was asked to record this world.
This was the first time a photographer had so extensively documented the house, an artwork in its own right, which encapsulates Jarman’s vision of the world. Organized room by room, McCarragher’s photographs are accompanied by reflective essays that take the reader inside the cottage and reveal something of its history and the experience of photographing there. McCarragher compares the house to a camera, with a dark interior and light coming in through various openings, carefully measured and calculated by the filmmaker. If Jarman’s garden is key to his lively and life-affirming outside universe, the house is a bit like his soul, a microcosm of his worldview.
Gilbert McCarragher is a London-based photographer who works around the world for architects, designers, and brands, including John Pawson, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Sevil Peach, Ian Schrager, and Coca-Cola. McCarragher's work is published widely and featured in books and magazines such as El Croquis, Domus, and John Pawson: Plain Space. He has exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts; Victoria and Albert Museum; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and The Wapping Project.
Frances Borzello has specialized in the social history of art since obtaining her doctorate at the University of London. She has published many books including The Naked Nude, A World of Our Own: Women as Artists, and At Home: The Domestic Interior in Art. She lives in England.