The collection includes sketch plans and elevations, letters and planting plans relating to gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll between 1890 and c.1925.
In some instances an architect would commission Jekyll to design a garden suitable for one of his houses. Jekyll's collaboration with Sir Edwin Lutyens is well known and is recorded here by documents relating to Fishers Hill, Hook Heath, Woking, 1901 (4113/7/3, 4), Lambay Castle, Eire, 1909-1910 (4113/4/9), the Philipson mausoleum at Golders Green Crematorium in 1914 (4113/2/1-3), and Sullingstead, later High Hascombe, 1924 (4113/6/1, 4; 4113/7/1, 17-19). Other architects with whom she worked included Harold Falkner of Farnham, her godson, (4113/5/1-5, and 4113/7/27-28), Walter Sarel of London (4113/7/1, 12-15) and ND Searle (4113/8/1) as well as the surveyors Amos and Dawton of Canterbury, Kent (4113/1/10, 13-16).
Commissions would also come from private individuals as a result of Jekyll's articles in 'Country Life'. Impressed by her designs for 'Small Suburban Gardens', people would ask her advice for their own gardens, often submitting sketch plans with their letters. This process can be seen in the correspondence relating to Wood Cottage, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, from William Faulkner (4113/7/1, 6, 7, 11, 28), Hillside, Penarth, Glamorgan, from J Croisdale Kirk, (4113/7/21-22) and The Woodlands, Saltburn by the Sea, Yorkshire, from C W Littleboy.
Some private clients would commission a Jekyll garden at more than one house. Sir William Chance, for whom Jekyll had designed the garden at the Lutyens-built Orchards, Godalming, in 1899, can here be seen to have commissioned another garden for his home at Leigh Manor, Cuckfield, Sussex, in 1918.
At least nine Surrey gardens are included in this collection:
28 Albany Park Road, Kingston, for Mr R Antill, 1921 (4113/4/6, 7); Fishers Hill, Hook Heath, Woking, for the Rt. Hon. Gerald Balfour, 1901 (4113/7/3, 4); Great House, Hambledon, for Mrs Readhead, 1922 (4113/1/1-2, 4113/3/1, 9, 4113/4/1, 8, 4113/5/12-13, 4113/6/1 and 4113/7/1); Halls Cottage, Frensham, for H Falkner, 1924 (4113/7/28); Mavins End, Farnham, for H Falkner, nd (4113/5/2); Munstead, for H Shearburn (4113/1/3-4); North Munstead, for H Falkner, 1920 (4113/7/1, 27); Normanswood, Farnham, for Miss Russell, 1919 (4113/3/1, 10); Sullingstead, later High Hascombe, Hascombe (4113/6/1, 4, 4113/7/1, 17-19).
Gertrude Jekyll's main collection of working papers was donated to a Red Cross sale in September 1940 and subsequently acquired by Beatrix Farrand, the American landscape architect, in 1948 through the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Boston. In 1955 Farrand donated the collection from her study centre at Reef Point Gardens, Bar Harbor, Maine, to the College of Environmental Design at the University of California. Further details of Farrand's acquisition of the Jekyll papers will be found in J B Tankard and M A Wood, Gertrude Jekyll at Munstead Wood: Writing, Horticulture, Photography, Homebuilding (Stroud, 1996).
Some of the commissions which are included in this deposit are represented by plans and correspondence in the Reef Point Gardens Collection and in Gertrude Jekyll's notebooks which are held at Godalming Museum.
This deposit also includes papers relating to gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll for which no other references have been found, either in the Reef Point and Godalming collections or in the catalogues of Jekyll's commissions which form appendixes to the biographies of her by Francis Jekyll, in 1934, and Jane Brown, in 1982. Their survival in the present deposit is therefore of particular significance for students of Jekyll's work. The commissions are Hatch, Kingsley Green, Sussex (4113/1/7); 47 Humbold Strasse, Berlin (4113/4/1, 4); Cottage at Hydon Ridge, Hambledon, Surrey (4113/8/1); Mavins End, Farnham, Surrey (4113/5/2); Pax Holt, not identified (4113/1/12 and 4113/8/1); Sunnybays, not indentified (4113/7/1) and Wood Cottage, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire (4113/7/7, 11). Closer examination of this last suggests that Gertrude Jekyll was not commissioned by the owner of Wood Cottage to plan the garden there, but to plan the garden for a new property called the 'Wilderness' at Sevenoaks in Kent.