Prospect Cottage: Derek Jarman's House by Gilbert McCarragher

Prospect Cottage: Derek Jarman's House by Gilbert McCarragher

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Thirty years after Derek Jarman's death, we are finally allowed inside Prospect Cottage, a house that encapsulates the filmmaker's vision of the world. This is a companion and follow-up to Derek Jarman's Garden, 28 years in print and still arguably Jarman's most popular book. While the garden of Prospect Cottage in Dungeness is much-visited and widely featured, the house has long remained closed to visitors.

We are now finally permitted to open the door onto a previously undisturbed, unseen world, itself an artistic testament. The background to the book is a poignant story of love and loss. Following Derek Jarman's death, Prospect Cottage passed to his partner Keith Collins, who changed only one thing: introducing curtains to prevent visitors to the garden from peering in.

When Collins died suddenly in 2018, McCarragher, a friend and neighbour in Dungeness, was asked to record the house. This was the first time a photographer had so extensively documented the cottage, an artwork in its own right, which encapsulates Jarman's vision of the world. Organized room by room, McCarragher's photographs are accompanied by reflective essays that take the reader inside the cottage and reveal something of its history and the experience of photographing there.

McCarragher compares the house to a camera, with a dark interior and light coming in through various openings, carefully measured and calculated by the filmmaker. If Jarman's garden is key to his lively and life-affirming outside universe, the house is a bit like his soul, his mind, a microcosm of his worldview.

Hardback / 192 pages