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British company set to create a Russian Museum Garden

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Press release March 2012

The Twig Group bring Russian masterpieces to life in a landscape

St Petersburg’s art “transplanted” to Hampton Court Palace

The State Russian Museum of St Petersburg is sponsoring a spectacular show garden at the world’s largest flower show at Hampton Court Palace in July this year. The museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Russian art, has commissioned an English landscape design company to create the garden. The museum’s directors say the Twig Group, based in Goudhurst, Kent, have created an inspirational garden that will introduce British visitors to the beauty and splendour of St Petersburg.

The show garden will reflect the colour, intricacy and splendour of the world’s largest collection of Russian art housed in the awe-inspiring Museum in the imperial city of St Petersburg. The garden’s design captures in cameo some of the 400,000 exhibits within the Russian Museum’s 13 buildings that include the grand Michailovsky, Marble and Stroganov Palaces, as well as the Michailovsky Castle of Emperor Paul 1.

Visitors will enter the garden through a giant picture frame and under a sparkling chandelier. They will walk into a microcosm of the imperial city, known as the Venice of the North. The garden is partially bordered by a moat, with bridges and islands abundant with trees, container plants and topiary cupolas that mimic the St Petersburg skyline.

The work of Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich, much of whose early work drew on the landscape and whose art is displayed in the Russian Museum, is being represented in the garden by a black vertical planted wall and circle seating area, imitating two of his early 20th Century paintings, Black Square and Black Circle. Also in the 10 x 12 square-metre garden are Russian doll sculptures based on sets of nesting Matryoshkas inspired by Malevich. The garden is edged with rustic grasses, symbolic of the St Petersburg city-dwellers’ weekend exodus to their rural dachas.

Twig’s designer Heather Appleton said: “It is a huge privilege to create a show garden sponsored by one of the world’s greatest museums located in one of the world’s most impressive cities. I visited the Russian Museum in St Petersburg last year and was inspired by its displays of amazing art from the 10th to the 21st centuries. I want to transplant some of that wonder to our show garden and reflect the vibrancy and the variety of the exhibits as well as spur people on to take a trip to St Petersburg and be wowed, just as I was.”

Twig director Miranda Eyre said: “It is a great honour to work with the Friends of the Russian Museum in St Petersburg. We are looking forward to creating a garden that showcases their art at the world’s largest flower show. This is a fascinating project for the Twig Group and one that we hope will open up a world of opportunities not only for visitors to Hampton Court Palace in July, but also for us as a business and for all our suppliers.”

Dr Vladimir Gusev, of the State Russian Museum, said: “Palaces, parks and gardens in the historical centre of Saint Petersburg are part of the Russian Museum and are the magnificent framing for the world’s largest collection of Russian art, representing all the periods of Russian art history, genres and styles, schools and artists. The Russian Museum collection reflects the history of Russian culture in its entirety.

We hope to introduce visitors to Hampton Court Palace to the beauty and splendour of Saint Petersburg.”