Derek Jarman's Dungeness cottage has been saved thanks to a £3.5 million crowdfunding campaign. Prospect Cottage on the Kent coast is considered an inspiration to art fans, who regularly make pilgrimages to see the windswept shingle beach where the property stands.
The famed artist bought the former Victorian fisherman's cottage in 1986, the year he was diagnosed with HIV. He lived there until he died in 1994 after which it was looked after by Jarman's long-term companion Keith Collins, who died in 2018.
The crowdfunding campaign was launched by his friend, Tilda Swinton, with whom he first visited the property back in the 80s.
“When we first launched this appeal, we were throwing ourselves into the void in the hope and faith that others might feel, as we do, that seeds planted with love make for a resilient and sustaining garden, even one grown amongst stones," said Swinton.
“What could be a clearer indicator of our collective commitment to a rich and inspiring future than this phenomenal response?”
The donations came from artists including David Hockney, and also members of the public. Independent membership-based British charity The Art Fund is now able to purchase the cottage and use it as a space to host a permanent public programme, including residencies for artists, academics, writers, filmmakers and gardeners.
Stephen Deuchar, who has this week stepped down after 10 years as director of the Art Fund, said: “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.”
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