Geoffrey Jellicoe 1900 –
Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe was one of the 20th century’s leading
landscape architects with a career spanning almost seventy years.
A trained architect, town planner, landscape architect and garden designer
his strongest interest was in landscape and garden design, describing it
as “the mother of all arts”.
Jellicoe grew up in the coastal town of
amongst the rolling Sussex Downs with his father, a
publisher and an opera-loving mother, both were sophisticated gardeners.
After a traditional classical education, which led to a lasting love of
Roman and Greek philosophers, Jellicoe trained as an architect from 1919
. He was a
founder member of the
, he was president from 1939-1949, and the
International Federation of Landscape Architects of which he was Honorary
As part of his final year of architectural studies, Jellicoe visited
and as a result wrote an authoritative book on
his life this influence was reflected in his work and can be seen at
through to the designs for
long and rich career saw the creation of many projects, from Cheddar Gorge
in 1934 to the Kennedy memorial at Runneymede, considered to be one of his
Water was a recurring theme in many Jellicoe designs, sometimes still and
reflective and in others energetic, a rushing waterfall down steep slopes
adding another dimension to the design.
After formally retiring, Jellicoe developed his ideas on the link between
design and the sub-conscious, studying the works of Carl Jung.
He felt the contribution of our sub-conscious when appreciating
design was wholly underrated or ignored.
Early in his career, Jellicoe was familiar with the work of modern artists
and felt empathy with abstract work. He
enjoyed successful relationships with the artist Ben Nicholson, who
provided the concluding sculpture for
, and was influenced by Paul Klee. His
work can also be seen at Cottesbrooke
Jellicoe’s last great project, yet to be built, was for the Moody
Historical gardens in Galveston
,Texas although much of the present garden was
influenced by his ideas
multi-million pound magnum opus, aimed to take visitors on a watery
journey through the history of landscape, from the Garden of Eden, passing
through ancient Egyptian and Roman gardens to those of
. Sir Geoffrey
Jellicoe combined appreciation of classical design with modern in a unique
way, having a feeling for the totality of a place and a rare sense of
volume. His understanding of
the landscape being more than just a picture and the importance of the
effects of time on a place make Jellicoe the most influential landscape
designer of our time.
Moody Gardens - Galveston
Photo by Mary
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Topp is a garden designer based in Wiltshire. She studied garden
design at Merrist Wood College, Surrey and can be contacted via her