Romilly Saumarez Smith
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Romilly Saumarez Smith
triptych, oil, wax, and charcoal on paper, mounted on board, 24 × 19 cm
2009

Romilly Saumarez Smith, designer bookbinder and jeweller, lives in East London in a restored Huguenot house built in 1740 with an extraordinary garden. In 2010. Romilly’s garden was selected for Hogan’s project at the Garden Museum by artist Charlotte Verity. Charlotte wrote: Today is warm for midwinter, and damp and I think of moss. It will be looking alive in Romilly's front garden where it clings to worn stones which nestle amongst primroses, fritillaries, grasses, bulbs and corms. Her eyes in their stillness and their proximity to the earth, have recovered the curiosity of childhood; they note subtle differences of form and shades of colour. Together with a skilled plantswomen she has created a place in which to wait and observe, looking closely and in detail wondering perhaps, what will emerge from the soil next. There is a connection to the metal finds which over time and with her imagination, are made into something rare and beautiful once again. This garden is on an urban thoroughfare and not a place for vulnerable plant life, you'd think. 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 (perhaps the first on this patch for centuries) 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.

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Sketchbook: Romilly Saumarez Smith's garden
oil and pen on paper, 14 x 28 cm
2016

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