Russian Show Garden at Hampton Court Palace

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RussianMind: 09/07/2012

The Friends of the State Russian Museum of St Petersburg sponsored a spectacular show garden at the world’s largest flower show at Hampton Court Palace (July 2nd – 8th).

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 have created an inspirational garden that introduces British visitors to the beauty and splendour of St Petersburg. Designer Heather Appleton says she hopes the garden reflects how throughout Russia’s turbulent history its art has survived, evolved and thrives today.

Through a giant picture frame and under a sparkling chandelier, visitors enter a representation of the imperial city of St Petersburg, known as the Venice of the North because of its islands, bridges and canals.

The garden is partially bordered by a moat and is abundant with trees, container plants and topiary cupolas that mimic the St Petersburg skyline.

Striking is designer Heather Appleton’s interpretation of work by Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich: a black rectangular wall and circular carpeted seating area imitate two of his early 20th Century paintings, Black Square and Black Circle.  Also featured are Russian doll sculptures, painted in a style inspired by Malevich. The garden is edged with rustic grasses, symbolic of the St Petersburg city-dwellers’ weekend exodus to their rural dachas.

The Russian Museum Garden stands as a living invitation to visit the stunning city of St Petersburg, Russia’s former capital and home to the annual St Petersburg International Flower Festival. In 2013 the festival, whose patron is HRH Princess Michael of Kent, will celebrate British creativity and have as its theme, the English Garden.

Dr Vladimir Gusev, Director 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”.

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