Eileen Hogan: Artist-not-in-residence

In 2016 Eileen Hogan, artist and professor at the University of the Arts, explored green spaces in London as the Garden Museum's artist-in-residence.

Eileen Hogan at Chelsea Physic Garden (2016) by UnknownGarden Museum

As the Museum was closed for renovation, Hogan came up with the idea to be an ‘artist-not-in-residence’. She wanted to create ‘a virtual garden museum’ through exploring green spaces in London. She asked people to nominate a London green space writing ‘This could be a private garden or a public space, and it might even be a remembered space, for example, or somewhere glimpsed from the top of a bus. It could be at ground level or it might be a balcony or roof terrace and it can be related to any time of year.’

Chelsea Physic Garden (2016) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

The green spaces chosen by Eileen’s respondents ranged from community gardens and commons as well as large public parks and posh squares. It was not so much about the extent of green space, but its character and how it is tended.

'I expected people to choose a lot of major public parks. What was more unexpected was people loving the neglected, or something that they came across every day. Loving the regularity. And they had such different reasons. I got very interested in what the dynamic of the garden is. Somewhere to go and work, the Chelsea Physic Garden for instance – or somewhere to go and play, or somewhere as sanctuary, or somewhere to walk.' - Eileen Hogan

Eileen Hogan at Chiswick House (2016) by Sandra LousadaGarden Museum

With a list of suggestions, Eileen travelled across London, from Dalston to Twickenham, to these garden sketch book in hand and recorded the space.

‘My method was to draw, scribble and make notes in my sketchbook in all the gardens that I visited. Through drawing I find out what connects me to a place. A relationship to some of the sites developed – it’s about becoming aware of an element I hadn’t seen before, even though I might be familiar with the space.’ – Eileen Hogan

Sketchbook page of Edwardes Square (2017-08-22) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

The view is controlled by our access to the site. The focal points of Eileen’s vistas, the empty benches or terrace backs, the football nets and cul-de-sac fences, often give the impression of being at the far end of an untraversable space; an atmosphere that is undiminished by the fact of access granted.

Eileen Hogan (2017) by Helen Perrault-NewbyGarden Museum

From her sketch books Eileen choose 12 sites, one for each month of the year, to turn in to larger painting which were displayed at the Garden Museum when it reopened.

“I’m not a documentary artist. Or an illustrative artist. Starting to sift through them, the hardest thing was thinking about presenting a body of work which had to represent my language as well as the documentation of the project. And that’s when I started to choose what – for me – reflected the idea of control. The controlled view.” - Eileen Hogan

Sketchbook page for Brompton Jewish Cemetery (2016-04-02) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Brompton Jewish Cemetery

Nominated for its “incorrigible aesthete”, Brompton Jewish Cemetery is a very mysterious green space. It is hidden behind the antique shop on the corner of Fulham Road and Old Church Street.

Eileen Hogan at Brompton Jewish Cemetery (2016) by Sandra LousadaGarden Museum

'There appeared to be no access to the Brompton Jewish cemetery. My first glimpse was from the top of a ladder, borrowed from the neighbouring Chelsea Arts Club, looking over the very high wall at the rows of tombstones inscribed in Hebrew... . So far I have only been able to draw the cemetery from the top of a ladder and it remains an elusive and mysterious place.'- Eileen Hogan

Sketchbook page for Chelsea Physic Garden (2016-01-20) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Chelsea Physic Garden

This garden was nominated for its unusual planting, the way it exudes calm, the fact that although it is in the centre of London at most times it feels private and an escape. 

Chelsea Physic Garden (2016) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

'The Chelsea Physic Garden is closed in winter, except to members. It is clearly a working garden and very different to the experience of visiting during summer when it’s full of visitors and voices.' - Eileen Hogan

Chelsea Physic Garden in Bad Weather (2016) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

'I enjoyed particularly ‘bad’ weather, including mist and a storm; and many plants, in order to protect them from the frost, were wrapped up in silvery bubble wrap which reflected the low winter light.' -Eileen Hogan

Eileen Hogan at Chelsea Physic Garden (2016) by Sandra LousadaGarden Museum

'The watering tripods and sprinklers were moved at the same time each day and the powerful spray reflected a silvery light and obscured parts of the planting.' - Eileen Hogan

Sketchbook page for Chelsea Physic Garden (2016-09-08) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Chelsea Physic Garden (2016) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Sketchbook page for Chiswick House (2016-02-29) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Chiswick House

Chiswick House was nominated as it 'continues to be a neo-classical oasis in west London. An iconic neo-Palladian villa and the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement, the estate was a draw for cultural and political visitors and heads of state who attended the many parties held here.'

View from the Cascade Terrace, Chiswick (1742) by George LambertOriginal Source: CHISWICK HOUSE AND GARDENS

'I am interested in classicism and therefore the neo-classicism of Chiswick House resonated for me.' - Eileen Hogan

Intrigued by how other artists have approached gardens, Eileen painted her view of Chiswick House from the same view point George Lambeth used in the eighteenth century. In Lambeth’s painting he include the promenading aristocracy on an invented a raise balustrade platform to enhance the picturesqueness of the scene.

Chiswick House (2016) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

This “controlled view” Eileen speak about is well illustrated here. Her chosen viewpoint is that of someone who has no business with the place but has stumbled upon a sight of it - perhaps a dog walker glimpsing it from a lane, or a child who has gone looking for a lost ball. The house, blank-windowed and shut for winter, is seen in the distance through a gap in the scrubby bramble hedge that divides her from the house and its gracious lawn.

Sketchbook page for Kew Gardens (2016-04-23) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Kew Gardens

The famous Kew Gardens were nominated by a garden designer who feels 'a sort of compulsion ( to visit the gardens) when too much pavement makes me out of sorts.' while visiting London. 

Sketchbook page of Kew Gardens (2016-05-02) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

'Until I encountered native bluebells in the woodlands at Kew Gardens I never realised there were different varieties and that the effect of wild native bluebells is very different to the garden Spanish variety, which is not a vivid blue.' - Eileen Hogan

Kew Gardens, Bluebells (2016) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Sketchbook page for Victoria Park (2016-02-07) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Victoria Park

The football pitch in Victoria Park was nominated as a space that boys come together to play football in the East London League. 'It’s just mud and grass, and on Sunday mornings the wind blows at the ragged twelve-year-olds across a mile of open space…'

Victoria Park (2016) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

'The monochrome bleakness of Victoria Park on a winter early morning excited me in a different way to the bluebells at Kew. The silver frost, which almost obliterated the white lines of the football pitches, created a poignant feeling of emptiness, and provided a visual metaphor for things coming into and out of existence.' - Eileen Hogan

Sketchbook page for Plane Trees (2017-03-09) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum


Unable to think of a favorite garden place, one participant nominated the plane trees that cover London. 'I love the plane trees of west London, especially the effect when the leaf is off and you seem to look up into the cage of their overarching branches, patterned against the blue-green December dusk. You see them best in Green Park, from the top of a No. 22 bus, or lining the Mall when you drive past St James’s Park.'

Plane Trees, Hyde Park (2017) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

'I love the camouflage-patterned bark of these trunks and the fact that the pattern is made because the bark comes away in large flakes which allows the tree to cleanse itself of pollutants.' - Eileen Hogan

Plane Trees, Hyde Park (2017) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Sketchbook page of Temple Gardens (2015-10-10) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Temple Gardens 

Temple Gardens were nominated due to their rich history. ' ...the ‘choosing of the roses’ - the supposed origin of the Wars of the Roses described in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 1 - took place in Temple Gardens, whilst the lovely spreading plane trees in the Gardens’ Broad Walk were inspired by the use of these smog-resistant trees in Paris, so evocatively captured in Impressionist paintings. Temple Gardens is thus a fascinating meeting point not just of past and present, and British and continental horticulture, but also a place that answers to my own personal delight in art and gardens in their wider cultural, social, and scientific contexts.'

Sketchbook page for Romilly Saumarez Smith's Garden (2016-03-26) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Romilly Saumarez Smith's Garden 

This garden was nominated by previous Garden Museum Artist-in-Residence Charlotte Verity. She describes entering 'You emerge from the underground, tramp along the pavement until (if you are noticing) you see a cascade of tangled greenery and as you press your face against the railings and peer, you see a soft generous world of fruiting crab apple trees,

spreading medlars, clematis with small bells the colour of her favourite waistcoat, jasmine, ivy and roses, and sometimes the sudden brilliance of tulips. It is Romilly’s gift to the Mile End Road and to all who pass that way. '

Eileen Hogan in Romilly Saumarez Smith's Garden (2016) by Sandra LousadaGarden Museum

'In Romilly’s garden I can detect the colours, tones, textures and rhythms used in her (book)bindings, and in the jewellery which she now designs. Sophisticated elegance and simplicity are characteristic of Romilly’s work and are evident in her garden. Its enclosed privacy on a busy road, makes me think about the significance of sound, smell and touch in Romilly’s bindings; the movement of the pages, the interiority and exteriority of a book.' - Eileen Hogan

Sketchbook page for Wimbledon Common (2016-07-20) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Wimbledon Common

The participant who nominated Wimbledon Common described it as : 'Open grasslands; groves of silver birch and the stone pines of Caesar’s Camp; ponds reflecting passing clouds; the white, clapboard windmill. Wicker picnic baskets and tartan rugs in summer; sliding down snowy slopes on an old Canadian sledge in winter. Cross-country running on muddy tracks in the wind and rain. After-school walks in spring with girlfriends in the woods.'

Sketchbook page for the Olympic Park (2016-08-26) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Olympic Park

Nominated for 'a wonderful bit of disused canal near the Olympic Park where

a crack willow has fallen into the water and is happily growing on up and out. It’s like a fallen Monet painting.' Eileen found this green space almost impossible to find: 'This terrain vague was almost impossible to find, but when I did I was rewarded by discovering a terrapin lounging in the middle of the disused canal, sunbathing on a raft of wood.'

Sketchbook page of Edwardes Square (2017-08-22) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Edwardes Square

Edwares Square was nominated for its secret feel 'Shielded from outside views it feels like entering a secret garden every time one opens the gates, even after having stepped through them hundreds of times. There is a sense of anticipation which builds as you advance into the garden and more of the views open up: what will it look like today, which flower or trees are blooming, which children are playing on its rolling lawn? And then, after a few minutes it is all beauty, joy'

Eileen Hogan at Edwardes Sqaure (2016) by Sandra LousadaGarden Museum

'There is a trace of animal life in my painting of Edwardes Square. I walk through the square almost every day on the way to work... The tennis court is installed in June for the summer months and the nets are hooked up every night to prevent damage by the resident foxes.' - Eileen Hogan

Sketchbook page for Bonnington Square (2017-03-01) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Bonnington Square

Bonnington square was nominated by a potter who describes it as: 'There is a sense of surprise when you enter Bonnington Square. Something totally unexpected reveals itself to you. Imagine a combination of subtropical plants and your perfectly disciplined London square in a peaceful enclave in Vauxhall. The New Zealand squatters, artists, and gardeners certainly enjoyed recreating a bit of their natural habitat. This was 40 years ago. The trees and bushes have now grown to create a luxuriant, lively atmosphere.'

Sketchbook page for South London Botanical Institute (2016-03-21) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

South London Botanical Institute

This garden on Norwood Road was suggested as '... a wonderful south London version of the Chelsea Physic Garden. A little ramshackle, but much loved.'

Sketchbook page for Dalston Curve Garden (2016-11-24) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Dalston Curve Garden

The participant who nominated Dalston Curve Garden loves the community aspect. 'What really lifts my heart are community gardens, designed in the main by non-professionals. Because each one is different, each

an expression of individual creativity and communal character and effort, they’re rather special and very moving. So I’ d like to nominate the Eastern Curve Garden in Dalston. It’s hidden behind a brick wall right opposite Dalston overground station - a busy, gritty part of east London. You pass through the archway and suddenly find yourself in a little paradise. Commercial pressures on the land mean that it may not survive much longer, but local people still plant their vegetables, come by for a cup of tea or just sit and chat or read.'

Sketchbook page for Pembroke Studios Garden (2015-10-10) by Eileen HoganGarden Museum

Pembroke Studios Garden

Nominated for the buzz of wildlife that brings the garden to life in spring, summer and early autumn. '... I often sit outside our house watching the breeze sway the foxglove, admiring the endurance of the heavy hibiscus; hoping to spot a new species of bird, a first-time visitor. I’m never disappointed. On the quietest days there is intense activity: fly-by bees stashing pollen, mice climbing dried stalks nibbling seeds; marauding cats on rodent control duty. Wise birds choose their branches with care.'

Pembroke Studios (2016) by Eileen Hogan and 2016Garden Museum

Eileen Hogan's work throughout the residency has created a lasting artistic record of green space in London. Spaces participants came across every day, from front gardens to public parks.

Credits: Story

The Garden Museum would like to thank Eileen Hogan and Sandra Lousada for their permission and support with this project.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
UK Gardens
From the smallest window box to the largest country estate
View theme
Google apps