Photo of English Rose Garden Garners Professor Prize

January 12, 2012


Sara James, professor of art history, captured the intriguing beauty of garden paths in “Mottisfont,” a photograph that won first place in a competition sponsored by the Garden Club of America. The category in which she won called for a monochrome photograph of a garden path that “your grandmother may have walked and your granddaughter would love to explore.”

James chose “Mottisfont” from photos she took while visiting and researching estates dating from the Tudor era and earlier in England.

“I came up with this one at Mottisfont Abbey, as I could imagine either an adult or child being drawn by the bench at the end of the garden path here,” she said.

Mottisfont Abbey, located in Hampshire, England, was founded as an Augustinian abbey in 1201 and was desecrated during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s, James explained. The abbey church was then converted into a home for Lord Sandys after 1537.

“The garden where I took the photograph is on the site of the former walled kitchen garden that would have served the monks at the abbey, but [it] in no way resembles what was there originally,” said James.

The present-day garden was designed in the 1970s and conserves more than 300 varieties of roses, particularly varieties from 19th-century France.