As Derek Jarman was with Tilda Swinton in Dungeness, Kent, with the intention of filming her, he told her about a small house on the beach, which he would love to buy, if it was ever for sale. When they arrived there in 1986, the house was indeed for sale and Jarman bought it for £32,000.
When Jarman moved to that house near a nuclear power station, he also created this extraordinary garden with sculptures made of things and pieces he found on the beach near his Prospect Cottage, as he named it. Not only the garden and the cottage but also the surroundings and deserted landscape were inspiration for his artistic work, especially for his film The Garden (1990).
After his death in 1994, Prospect Cottage was taken care of by his partner Keith Collins. Unfortunately, Keith Collins died in 2018 and the house was since then abandoned and neglected. Not only weather and salt, but also the large number of visitors and tourists are now the enemies of this house and garden, that already became a monument for all who know Derek Jarman and his work.
Prospect Cottage is now open for private sale. To avoid that, a crowdfunding campaign in cooperation with Art Fund, Tate Gallery and Creative Folkestone has been launched to raise £3,2 million in 10 weeks to preserve and purchase Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, Kent. The campaign is until 31th March 2020. Many years after Tilda Swinton found the cottage together with Jarman, she is now part of the Art Fund campaign to save Prospect Cottage. The idea is, to open it for future generations as a creative retreat for artists, filmmakers, writers and activists and also to provide guided visits. Prospect Cottage has been popular by many people who are interested in his work and especially by the LGBTQ community as a sort of a place for pilgrimage, because Jarman was also a gay right activist, fought Homophobia and participated in many marches.
Pledges start for as little as £5. For £100 you will receive a colourful A4 print of the cottage by Michael Craig-Martin. For £650 you will receive a signed print of an agave plant created by Wolfgang Tillmans with an extract of a John Donne poem that can be found on the cottage’s wall. For £1,250 you will receive Isaac Julien‘s limited-edition boxed set of five prints, with artist’s signature. £3000 costs the most expensive pledge, a private tour for 4 people of gardener Dan Pearson’s own garden in Somerset, England will be offered and many more pledges.
The money will provide needed funds to cover the property cost, ensure funded programme by Tate and Creative Folkestone and to remain Prospect Cottage and the garden free and open to public. All Jarman’s art work will be available for the public at Tate Britain.
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