Organized by the Morris Museum of Art
from the collection of horticulturist John Elsley, Golden Afternoon: English Watercolors from the Elsley Collection opens on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at Augusta, Georgias Morris Museum of Art. The exhibition includes forty exquisite watercolors of many of the most famous gardens of the Victorian and Edwardian eras painted by some of the foremost garden painters of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
This breathtaking collection of English watercolors recording the Golden Age of the English gardenlovingly assembled over the past forty years by English-born horticulturist John Elsley, a resident of Greenwood, South Carolinacaptures images of some of the most beautiful garden designs created at the turn of the last century, said Kevin Grogan, director of the Morris Museum of Art.
Patronage of the arts during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras took distinctly different, though complementary, forms, resulting from the commissioning of the foremost garden designers of the period and a group of remarkable artists who recorded the landscaped splendor of the age. In these marvelous evocations of an age long past, lawns bathed in sunlight, sculptured evergreens, and inviting pathways draw the viewer deeper and deeper into the artists world, where flowers appear in glorious abundance, bursting the borders of their beds and cascading over walls. There is a kind of balance achieved between the work of the garden designers and the artists who interpreted their work that serves as a contrast to the many tragic consequences of World War I. Most of the gardens represented in the present exhibition are irretrievably lost, but this record remains. And that has helped to maintain the pervasive influence of the classic English gardening style.
Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.
Rudyard Kipling, The Glory of the Garden
Golden Afternoon remains on view through Sunday, July 1, 2012 and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, which includes a foreword and artists biographies by Morris Museum of Art Director Kevin Grogan, as well as essays by Alan Clark MacTaggart, Chairman Augusta State Universitys Department of Art and collector John Elsley who also contributed detailed descriptions of the gardens depicted. The catalog is available through the Morris Museum of Art store for $19.95.