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International Trust for Croatian Monuments in London
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  07/10/2009 | Environment , Education | Unrated
Rebirth of a Renaissance garden of the island of Hvar

Lady Jadranka Njerš Beresford-Peirse, London, founder of the International Trust for Croatian Monuments in 1991.

The International Trust for Croatian Monuments

Charity Registration No. 1040187

34 Cadogan Square London SW1X OJL

The International Trust for Croatian Monuments was founded in 1991 under the auspices of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS UK) in response to damage and destruction of monuments of culture in Croatia caused by war. It became an independent charity in 1994 and the trustees are Sherban Cantacuzino CBE, the Viscount Norwich, Captain Ante Jerkovic and Sir Henry and Lady Jadranka Beresford-Peirse. In those crucial times, Sir Roger de Grey, the then president of the Royal Academy of Arts, was also a supporter and a trustee until his untimely death in 1995.

Our aim is to raise awareness of the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Croatia and to raise funds for the restoration and preservations of those sites that have become threatened either by war, neglect or lack of funding. We have pursued this policy with faith and determination and we believe that help is still needed. Through a series of appeals, articles, lectures, exhibitions and concerts, and with the generous support of many people in this country, from all walks of life, substantial funds have been raised and channelled to Croatia for specific restoration projects.

Among the many events that we have organised since 1991, I would like to mention especially the following:

  • Two piano recitals and a concert by Maestro Ivo Pogorelich, the Royal Festival Hall in 1992 and 1999 and in Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, in 1994, in aid of Dubrovnik and Vukovar.
  • "The Art for Art Auction", held at Bonhams in 1994 in aid of the cathedrals in Sibenik and Osijek.
  • The exhibition "Royal Academicians in Dubrovnik", Royal Academy of Arts in 1996, in aid of Dubrovnik.
  • Three exhibitions devoted to the painter Vlaho Bukovac, 1855 - 1922, held at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 2005 and in the Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate and at Bonhams in London in 2006.
  • The exhibition dedicated to the work and life of the Croatian soprano Milka Ternina, 1865 - 1943, held at the Royal Opera House in 2006/2007.
  • Lecture by John Julius Norwich on Alfred Gilbert held at the Royal Geographical Society in2003.
  • Lecture by Sherban Cantacuzino on damage to architecture in Croatia held at the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2000.

The Trust has supported restoration of churches, cathedrals, museums, libraries and works of art. With the help of British specialists we have helped with book and paper conservation in Croatia and established a stained glass workshop in Osijek. We have revived the growing of flax and established a Flax and Linen Workshop in Ivanić Grad. In particular, we have helped with the education and training of young conservators and restorers at institutions of excellence in Great Britain. We believe that investing in young conservators and restorers is our best investment and for that purpose funds are still needed.


Renaissance palace of Croatian writer Hanibal Lucić 1485 - 1553 on the island of Hvar.
Renaissance garden of Hanibal Lucić on the island of Hvar.
The above two photos by the courtesy of Lady Jadranka Njerš Beresford-Peirse, London.

Charity Registration No. 1040187
34 Cadogan Square, London SW1X 0JL Tel/Fax: (020) 7589 1134 & (01677) 422811
Email: -


Lady Beresford-Peirse
Sir Henry Beresford-Peirse
Sherban Cantacuzino CBE
Capt. Ante Jerkovic
The Viscount Norwich

For a number of years now the International Trust for Croatian Monuments, together with the British Croatian Society in Britain and the Croatian British Society in Croatia, have tried to gather funds to help return to its former glory the garden of the Croatian poet and playwright, Hanibal Lucić, 1485 - 1553, on the island of Hvar. The garden, just on the outskirts of the town of Hvar, surrounded the poet's summer residence and was once, "with its walls that from the parterre provided a view only of the sky and the peaks of the surrounding hills, with the well in the centre, marked with its two tailed mermaids known from the early Middle Ages, shaped like the space itself: closed and symbolic". (Ambroz Tudor, "Prilozi povijesti umjetnosti u Dalmaciji", 41).

With its roots deep in the Middle Ages, a flowering in the Renaissance, it still survives today in spite of its chequered history.

The garden is only about 2000 sq.m in size, with buildings on the south side and walls on the other three sides. There are paths along the walls and intersecting in the middle, thus dividing the garden into four parts. The paths are covered with stone slabs, but there is evidence that once they were covered in brick in a fishbone pattern. In the middle of the garden, where the paths meet, there is a well-preserved fountain head, possibly with the source of water still intact, with mermaids and the Lucić and Gazarović family coats of arms. Some of the columns surrounding the fountain still stand. There were columns all along the garden paths, forming pergolas, where vines, roses and jasmine once grew. Benches and other stone furniture, once a constituent part of such a garden, also existed, long since gone. There is no documentary evidence of the original planting scheme, but every kind of indigenous tree and shrub must have flourished there, as well as other species, imported, as was a custom on a seafaring island, from far a field.

The small Renaissance summer villa was built in around 1530. It is just charming. On its balcony, the poet sat during the hot, summer evenings. The Museum of Hvar Heritage has been located within the garden buildings, with a room on the first floor of the villa dedicated to the poet, while the  ground/basement area has held the Hvar archives, extraordinarily rich and important, and yet housed under very inadequate conditions. Now, the villa and the outbuildings are undergoing restoration, the archives will be moved to a purpose built structure adjacent to the garden, but invisible to the eye. The villa will be then dedicated in its entirety to the poet.

Once all the building works have been completed, it will be the turn of the garden. We, our Trust and the two Societies mentioned above, have, in the meantime, had five new columns carved and placed in the garden and are anxious to obtain more funding to continue with this part of the project. Each column costs around EU 650 and there were over 50 once in the garden! In my 2006 report, I had this special "Support a column" appeal. The columns are carved by a young conservator, Ivan Sikavica, an employee of the Croatian Conservation Institute and an ex-alumnus of Weymouth College, where he trained under the auspices of our Trust. There are sufficient columns, or their fragments, remaining, albeit from different periods, so that they can be repeated. We have also contacted and have had a very positive reply from several members of the Mediterranean Garden Society who would be willing to travel to Hvar, with only their costs covered, to advise on the planting. The garden is an oasis and an asset to the island of Hvar. It is worth every effort to make it again, lush and beautiful, as it once was, to the delight of visitors and inhabitants of Hvar alike.

Jadranka Beresford-Peirse
Founder and Trustee
International Trust for Croatian Monuments

Photos by: Nives Tomasovic, Curator
Museum of Hvar Heritage
e-mail:, telephone: 00 385 21 741 009

We would be most grateful for any donations towards this project. Gift Aid will be applicable.

The International Trust for Croatian Monuments is supported by ICOMOS UK and Maestro Ivo Pogorelich.


Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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