Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Margaret Fowler Garden and Oratory

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Institution Name: Scripps College
Original/Historic Place Name: Margaret Fowler Garden and Oratory
Location on Campus: south of Dorsey Hall
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1946completion of the mural "The Flower Vendors" on plaster wall of garden Unknown
Type of Place: Landscape site
Type of landscape–
Large-scale features:
Large-scale murals, tiled wall fountain, central pool and radiating walkways.
Other characteristics:
ca. 2004-present (2007)outdoor space

Significance: landscape
Landmark designation:
National RegisterScripps College for Women (1984)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

From the Guide to the Scripps College Campus:
The Margaret Fowler Garden and Oratory is "one of the College's most delightful places." The garden is "laid out in two distinct sections: the western areas has a central pool and four walkways extending in the cardinal directions like many Christian monastery and Islamic courtyard gardens that recreate the 'Garden of Eden.' While the eastern end has a Mediterranean-style tiled wall fountain and open flagstone area for receptions. Located west of the pool is Scripps Professor (1939-1965) Albert Stewart's 'Eternal Primitive,' . . . It is a modern complement to the ceramic bas relief of the 'Virgin and Child' located just outside the Oratory, designed by the Wallis-Wiley Studio of Pasadena."

"On the south side of the wall of Margaret Fowler Garden are murals by Alfredo Ramos Martinez, often called the 'Father of the Mexican Mural Movement of the 20th century.' In 1929, Martinez and his family moved to Los Angeles for medical reasons, and he received commissions to paint murals in Santa Barbara, Hollywood, and La Jolla. In 1937, Scripps Professor (1932-1963) Millard Sheets organized an exhibition on campus of Martinez's works. Scripps College commissioned Martinez in 1946 to create this extraordinary mural, 'The Flower Vendors,' his most ambitious project. He sketched in the entire composition on the plaster wall, which is over 100 feet long, and then began work on several panels. Unexpectedly, be became ill and died on November 8, 1946, at the age of 72. As Scripps College Professor Mary Davis MacNaughton'70 has noted, 'The unfinished mural, whose large stylized figures reveal Martinez's interest in Pre-Columbian glyps, Byzantine mosaics, and the Tahitian paintings of Paul Gauguin, remains a lasting monument to the importance of the Mexican mural movement and its impact on art in Southern California.' The entire mural was analyzed and conserved in 1994 with a grant from the Getty Endowment."

I. Bibliographic sources:

A Tour of the Campus Including an Account of Special Collections, Certain Architectural Features, and Other Items. Claremont, CA: Scripps College, 1960.

Belloli, Jay et al. Johnson, Kaufmann, and Coate: Partners in the California Style. Claremont, CA: Trustees of Scripps College, 1997.

Bernard, Robert J., An Unfinished Dream: A Chronicle of the Group Plan of the Claremont Colleges. Claremont, CA: Claremont University Center, 1982.

Birnbaum, Charles R., and Robin Karson, eds. Pioneers of American Landscape Design. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.

Campus Master Plan. Archives, Scripps College, Claremont, CA.

Clark, Alson. "The 'California' Architecture of Gordon B. Kaufmann." Society of Architectural Historians Southern California Chapter Review 1, no. 3 (1982): 1-8.

Coats, Bruce and Judy Harvey Sahak. Guide to the Scripps College Campus. Claremont, CA: Scripps College, 2002.

Deferred Maintenance and Capital Renewal Report. [Claremont, CA: Scripps College, n.d.].

Eckbo, Garrett. Urban Landscape Design. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964.

Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985.

Landscape and Architectural Blueprint. Forthcoming. Scripps College, Claremont, CA.

Larson, Jens Frederick and Archie MacInnes Palmer. Architectural Planning of the American College. New York and London: McGraw-Hill, 1933.

Lyon, E. Wilson. The History of Pomona College, 1887-1969. Claremont, CA: Pomona College [in consortium with Scripps College], 1977.

Polyzoides, Stephanos. "Gordon B. Kaufmann, Edward Huntsman-Trout, and the Design of the Scripps College Campus." In Johnson, Kaufmann, and Coate: Partners in the California Style. Claremont, CA: Trustees of Scripps College, 1997, 83-113.

Scripps College. Cultural Landscape Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, [Forthcoming].

Solomon, Barbara Miller. In the Company of Educated Women. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1985.

Turner, Paul Venable. Campus: An American Planning Tradition. New York: Architectural History Foundation; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections
Government Offices
Other: UCLA Special Collections, Edward Huntsman-Trout Papers, Los Angeles, California

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