State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 38 Spring 1986


John Cotton's Garden Gate

“The verse of John Cotton”, in which I set out details of the discovery of Rhymes of my leisure: or attempts at versification. By a squatter of Australia Felix and the proof of John Cotton's authorship, appeared in the La Trobe Library journal in 1969.'1
In it I showed that the linking of lines in the poem “Lines suggested by a recent visit after a lapse of about twenty years to my father's house, and the place of my birth. 1839” with a remark in Gerald Hamilton-Edwards’ The leisured connoiseur: William Cotton of Ivybridge provided conclusive evidence. The key proved to be a garden gate “composed entirely, after a whimsical design of their mother's, of garden tools and farm implements.”2
Some time after the publication of my article I learned, in correspondence with Major Hamilton-Edwards, that he held “Certain reminiscences of

John Cotton's garden gate, as it appears in William Cotton's “Certain reminiscenses of my life”.

my life”, an unpublished manuscript by John Cotton's brother William, bound up in a quarto volume and handed down through generations of the Cotton family. The volume contains “… many delightful sketches by himself [William] and others …” including a water-colour painting of the gate. Major Hamilton-Edwards kindly sent me the photograph reproduced here.
Also reproduced here, as a postscript to my earlier article, are the title-page of Rhymes of my leisure and pages 49 and 53 of the La Trobe Library's copy of John Cotton's Journal of a voyage in the barque Parkfield, which bear corrections in Cotton's hand.


Tess Kloot, “The verse of John Cotton”, in La Trobe Library journal, vol. 1, no. 4 (October, 1969), pp. 90–95.


Gerald Hamilton-Edwards, The leisured connoiseur: William Cotton of Ivybridge (Plymouth, the author, 1954), p.22.