More than £3 million raised to save Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage

The crowdfunding campaign to keep the artist’s home and its contents from being sold has raised £3.5 million in 10 weeks through donations from the public and arts organisations.

Date
1 April 2020
Reading Time
3 minute read

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Some good news when we all need it: Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage has been saved after £3,624,087 was raised via a crowdfunding campaign. Over 8,100 donations were made by the public, nearly 2,000 in the past week alone – an incredible sign of goodwill amid a public facing some of their most troubling times. Further funding came from leading charities, trusts, foundations and philanthropists, with the largest (£750,000) coming from National Heritage Memorial Fund, plus £500,000 from Art Fund and £250,000 from the Linbury Trust.

This means Art Fund will be able to purchase Prospect Cottage from the Keith Collins Will Trust, and to fund a permanent public programme, the conservation and maintenance of the building, collection, contents and renowned garden. Before Art Fund’s appeal, the artist’s home had been at risk of being sold privately, its contents dispersed, and artistic legacy lost. 

For the first time, members of the public will be able to see inside the cottage, by appointment, through a programme of guided visits. The cottage will also host a residency programme for artists, academics, writers, gardeners, filmmakers, and others interested in Jarman and his work.

Jarman’s archives from the cottage including notebooks, sketchbooks, letters, drawings and photographs will be placed on a long-term loan to Tate Archive, the national repository for British art. They will be made publicly available for the first time later this year. Part of this collection is the notebook Jarman used when working on his final feature film Blue; his Bafta award for outstanding British contribution to cinema; his personal SLR and Super 8 cameras; and an address book in which he illustrated each entry with collaged photographs of his friends. 

The campaign to save Prospect Cottage was launched on 22 January 2020 with support from artists such as Michael Craig-Martin, Tacita Dean, Jeremy Deller and Wolfgang Tillmans, who gave work and experiences as rewards for donations. David Hockney also made a substantial personal donation to the appeal. Tilda Swinton and Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell rallied support from the film world throughout the campaign.  

Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said in a statement: “Securing the future of Prospect Cottage may seem a minor thing by comparison with the global epidemic crisis which has recently enveloped all our lives. But Derek Jarman’s final years at the cottage were an inspiring example of human optimism, creativity and fortitude battling against the ravages of illness, and in that context the success of this campaign seems all the more apposite and right for its time.” He added that the campaign’s success was “a proud and public affirmation of the importance of Derek Jarman’s major contribution to the history of art and film, to queer culture and identity, and to the long British tradition of political activism”.

Tilda Swinton said: “When Derek initiated the project of making this little house on the shingle the unique and magically empowering space it has come to be, not only for him, but for so many of us, it was at a time of intense uncertainty and fragility in his own life. Casting the net of our appeal to keep this project alive has coincided with the phenomenal global challenge to community with which we are currently faced - and that that net has still come in so full of bounty - has only served to prove how invaluable this vision of future is to us all.”

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent the last ten years working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on news@itsnicethat.com.

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