First published in 1937
Persephone Book no.114 is Gardeners' Choice by Evelyn Dunbar and Charles Mahoney:
The authors of Gardeners’ Choice had first collaborated on a mural at a school in Brockley and in 1936 were asked to write ‘a really new book’ about gardening. Cyril (always called Charles) Mahoney had taught Evelyn Dunbar at the Royal College of Art and she was asked by him to work at Brockley. When they did the book together it did not occur to either of them to sign their drawings, with the result that we have no idea apart from intuitive appraisal who drew what. In the same way we do not know if the text is Charles’s or Evelyn’s.
The writing is quite serious and is for the truly dedicated gardener - there are detailed descriptions of the plants that the two devoted gardeners would ideally choose for a garden. But the main delight of the book is the drawings - black and white illustrations that have never been reproduced since their first publication in 1937. The reason for reissuing it now is that two years ago a cache of 500 of Evelyn Dunbar drawings and paintings were discovered in a house in Kent: someone had brought a Dunbar work to the Antiques Roadshow and seeing it had prompted the owner of the archive to get it down from the attic. An exhibition at the Pallant Gallery in Chichester is the result (it runs from October until February 14th 2016).