The Garden of Cosmic Speculation


You can do far worse things this January than taking a trip to Sladmore Contemporary to view Walking in the Universe: a photographic journey through the landscaped Garden of Cosmic Speculation.

Created by architect Charles Jencks at his home near Dumfries, the 30 acre garden is opened once a year to the public as part of Scotland’s Open Gardens charity programme. The garden is inspired by science, maths and modern cosmology. And it’s like nothing you’ll have ever seen before.

Now, this swirling, sculptural, other-worldly space – featuring Aztec-like lawned hills and Chinese-inspired bridges – is the subject of a new exhibition. Charles’ filmmaker son, John, has captured images of the gardens throughout the seasons of the year, taking visitors to the gallery on a virtual tour of this magical land.


Said John: “In the design of The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, the Chinese concept of miniaturising a landscape has been writ large, taking the laws of the universe and expressing them in landform, aluminium and water. These photographs take the viewer on a walk through the garden and explore the points where nature and design meet.”

The exhibition runs until 26th January and prints can be bought, framed, from £100. Every penny raised will be going to Just for Kids Law, a profoundly important charitable organisation that provides vital legal advocacy and support for children from challenging, vulnerable, underprivileged backgrounds. The work they do is truly amazing and, given the cuts to the legal aid system, it’s more relevant than ever.

We at Studio were fortunate enough to be invited along to the launch night; having the chance to see John’s prints and experience the gardens – if only as a voyeur – was a real treat. Getting to meet the people that benefit from and support the work Just for Kids Law does was the icing on the cake.

So, how about it? You have until 26th January to take a Walk in the Universe. Visit Sladmore Contemporary, 32, Bruton Place, London, W1J 6NW. We promise you won’t be disappointed.