I'm Anna Pavord, I'm a writer and a gardener and I would dearly love to be the lady with the fan in this fabulous hanging who is just sort of indicating that she would like to drift round the back of that pond there and go and examine the tulips in the bed opposite. This is an extraordinarily beautiful formal garden. They're things about it that make me feel that it can't be now, but at the same time I sort of recognise the design because we still love this sort of … symmetry, this sense of order around us and it's got all the sort of key things that the most stylish garden makers of the 21st century would be wanting to put into a garden. The thing of course that we wouldn't be doing now is actually being so sparing with the flowers in the flowers beds. This is a very typical design of that period but really but we'd be now cramming those flower beds and we'd be making contrasts of texture and foliage and all those things that garden writers go on about endlessly, but what they've got here is just jewel flowers... the absolute jewel flowers of the late 17th century. But how far they are planted apart in the beds and thats because each one of these would have cost a fortune an absolute fortune. The water feature is still a very very important part of the modern garden too although it wouldn't have been anything like as elaborate as this one. Theres nothing in this garden that wouldn't be much to be desired in the modern garden... these lovely pots, the orange trees, certainly the conservatory at the end… .so I find it remarkably contemporary.
You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.
This special visit, led by the chief executive who is also the curator and archivist, will open the doors to this fascinating archive and conclude with a tour of the 2015 exhibition of whitework from the Royal School of Needlework collection.