Maggie Jencks

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Died in 1995. "Maggie Jencks was raised in a privileged, but hardly conventional, background. Her father, Sir John Keswick, headed the great Scottish trading dynasty of Jardine Matheson, first from Shanghai and later (after the Communist takeover, when he and his wife were put under house arrest) from Hong Kong. Born at Cowhill, the "big house" of the Keswicks in Dumfriesshire in 1941, Margaret Keswick (an only child) was brought up between the Far East, Scotland and school in England. She read English at Oxford, but - after a brief foray into the fashion business - went to the Architectural Association school in London. It was here that she met the American architect and writer Charles Jencks, whom she married in 1978...

"Maggie Jencks's other garden designs included a collaboration with the American architect Frank Gehry on the Lewis House at Cleveland, Ohio, where fibre-optics and running water were to be fused to create a highly original landscape, as well as a garden for the film director Roger Corman. For the Jencks's house in California, she laid out a garden inspired by Milton's "Il Allegro" and "Il Penseroso". She was a meticulous draughtswoman, with a facility in drawing which she lacked in writing - she admitted that Chinese Gardens had been an arduous task, but went on to edit a history of Jardine Matheson, The Thistle and the Jade (1982)...

"Jencks's moral sense was reflected in her commitment to charitable work, which found expression in the Holywood Trust, which she set up, with her father, to address the problems of young people in south-west Scotland, and the Hong-Kong-based Keswick Foundation. The latter established the colony's first hospice for the terminally ill and is heavily involved in mental health, a largely taboo subject in the Chinese culture. Jencks was a generous donor to many causes, but was equally a persuasive fund- raiser. She regularly served as a helper on pilgrimages to Lourdes, even after her own illness was first diagnosed in 1988. (An operation stemmed the advance of the cancer, but it recurred in 1993.)" [1]


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  1. OBITUARY:Maggie Jencks, organizational web page, accessed June 18, 2014.