Eileen Mayo

England / Australia / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1906, d.1994

A Garden Enclosed

  • Purchased 2005
  • Screenprint
  • 310 x 490mm
  • 2005/055
  • 1980

Eileen Mayo had the idea for making this work in 1966 during a visit to Cuningham House, the largest and oldest of the display houses in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. It was not until 1980, however, that she completed A Garden Enclosed. Opened in 1924, Cuningham House was funded through a bequest by Mr C.A.C. Cuningham, a Christchurch law clerk. Such conservatories, or ‘winter gardens’, were used to house botanic specimens from warmer climates. The distinctive high dome-shaped glass roof is capped with a glazed lantern, and the building was heated with a boiler and a network of pipes throughout the space to provide a suitable climate for tropical plants like the cyclamen, poinsettia and Kentia palms Mayo has depicted. Her view simplifies the architecture of the building, which was designed to echo a classic English orangery in a Neo Classical style. It incorporates a double height space to accommodate taller plants and an elevated viewing gallery. A leading architectural Christchurch firm, Collins and Harman, modelled the design for Cuningham House on the Reid Winter Gardens at Springburn Park, Glasgow.

(Turn, Turn, Turn: A Year in Art, 27 July 2019 – 8 March 2020)