Saving Prospect Cottage

How costume designer Sandy Powell got hundreds of film stars to sign her suit in a bid to save filmmaker Derek Jarman’s cottage

Art and Design 6 Mar 2020

Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage in Dungeness
Brad Pitt signing Sandy Powell's suit
Danny Boyle signs the suit
Sandy Powell asks Janelle Monae to sign
Leonardo DiCaprio adds his signature to the suit
Jarman's legacy is preserved inside Prospect Cottage
The shingle beach garden at Prospect Cottage
Sandy Powell wearing the signed suit

Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell hit the 2020 awards season to raise money for Art Fund’s campaign to save visionary filmmaker, artist and activist Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage with a suitable sartorial twist.

Powell, who was a close friend of Jarman, attended the 2020 Critics’ Circle, Bafta and Oscar ceremonies wearing a cream calico suit, which she asked nominees and winners to sign. She collected more than 100 signatures from stars including Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Renée Zellweger, Robert De Niro, Elton John, Laura Dern and Saoirse Ronan.

Sandy Powell wearing the signed suit, which is in an online Phillips auction until 11 March

Money made from the sale of the suit, which is currently in an online auction run by Phillips until 5pm on 11 March, will add to funds already raised by Art Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Linbury Trust, the Luma Foundation and contribution of more than 4,500 people. The campaign needs to raise £3.5 million to save the cottage from being sold privately on 31 March, which could result in the contents of the carefully preserved house dispersed, and artistic legacy lost.

The filmmaker purchased the house in 1986 and it quickly became a creative hub where his artistic practices and collaborations came together. Today it represents a complete distillation of his pioneering creativity with poetry etched in the glass, driftwood sculptures and a shingle beach garden. More than 25 years after Jarman’s death, people from all over the world continue to be inspired by the stark beauty of Prospect Cottage.

Art Fund’s director Stephen Deuchar said: ‘Sandy Powell’s idea of auctioning a star-signed suit, made possible by Phillips, is a brilliant, beautiful gesture propelling us further towards our important target and its challenging deadline’.

To make a donation, click here. Follow the campaign @artfund #saveProspectCottage;