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Garden Map by Neil Gower

With the re-opening of our garden this season a refreshed take on our map to express and define the layout of our coastal garden, highlighting key locations and areas of interest, was undertaken by internationally acclaimed graphic artist, Neil Gower.

Working in a broad range of styles and using a variety of medias, including gouache, watercolour, acrylics, coloured pencils, and inks, Neil has illustrated artwork for a range of clients, including Faber & Faber, Penguin, Random House, Transworld, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. Among his many works of cover art for books, including a commemorative edition of William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies cover, Neil has created a wonderful selection of garden plans and illustrated maps.

We were thrilled when Neil agreed to take on the project of the 2017 St Michael’s Mount garden map. To really get a feel for the lay of the land, and understand the full detail of the contours and intricacy of the garden, Neil felt it imperative to study the garden on site in order to create a map that is functional, as well as beautiful to look at. We invited Neil to spend two days with us and he had the honour of a sleepover in the castle - a rare opportunity! Staying in the castle meant that Neil was able to walk every footpath, tread the cobble pathways, meet the gardeners, and our garden designer Michael Harvey, as well get a full understanding of what our visitors needed from the map. 

Neil captured the garden through in situ pencil sketches and photographs. By exploring the various sections of the garden and marking down rough pencil sketches, he was able to collate enough sketches that could then be referenced for the large scale map. Once he returned home, the draft pencil sketches were transformed into more detail as the map began to take shape. 

The final map is then coloured in watercolour to reflect the many colours of the garden. The 2017 map highlights many points of interest in the garden and we hope that all our visitors to the garden this year really appreciate the new map, and find it as beautiful and useful as we do!

If you are interested in learning more about Neil’s work please visit his website

Neil Gower in the St Michael's Mount gardens
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