Writing from South Africa, garden designer calls it “a tragedy to destroy such an inspiring living work of art”


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Mayor De Blasio
City Hall
New York
NY 10007
11th February 2015

Dear Mayor de Blasio

The possible demolition of the Russel Page Viewing Garden at the Frick Collection

I am sure there are many thousands from around the world who have visited the Frick Collection and its viewing garden and have not only appreciated its beauty but have recognized its importance. Its influence cannot be overstated. I first visited it when I was 19 years old and 35 years later it continues to inform my garden vocabulary. After a career at Sotheby’s Auctioneers I turned my hand to landscaping ten years ago. I have a well developed appreciation for things of great quality and beauty. For the past five years I have designed and developed the Garden of St Christopher, a 7 acre private Italianate garden estate in Hyde Park, Johannesburg., South Africa. Russel Page’s design aesthetic had an enormous influence on my design choices for the garden.

I do hope with your guidance that the citizens of New York choose to preserve this glorious garden for posterity for future generations to admire. It is a jewel of a garden with its classical proportions and all the more special for its intimate scale in the concrete jungle that is New York. Such spaces are vital as they feed the soul. Russel Page’s garden at the Frick museum has earned the right to survive not only for its timeless beauty but because of the ionic stature and the wide spread influence of its creator. In my view it would be a tragedy to destroy such an inspiring living work of art in order to enlarge the collection. I am astounded that New York of all places, such a cultural hub, has even contemplated such an action.

It is vital that future generations can appreciate fully the spirit and vision of the Frick family in donating this extraordinary space and its grounds to the people of New York. Every endeavour must be made to retain this legacy for all those that have an interest and love for art and nature.

Your sincerely

Debby Tenquist
Garden designer
Designer of the Garden of St Christopher under the banner Flower Power Gardens

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