'The first time you see Winston Churchill you see all his faults, and the rest of your life you spend discovering his virtues' (Lady Constance Lytton, quoted in C. Hassall, Edward Marsh, London, 1949).
Lady Constance Lytton (1869-1923), British suffragette and activist, was the first owner of Garden Scene, and it is thought that the painting depicts her garden at Knebworth in Hertfordshire. Lady Constance Georgina Bulwer-Lytton, sometimes known as Jane Warton, tirelessly campaigned for prison reform, votes for women and birth control. Her father, Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, was the Viceroy of India, where Lady Lytton spent the first 11 years of her life. Despite her family's position of privilege, she rejected it instead choosing to join the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), the leading organisation campaigning for Women's suffrage in the UK which was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903.
In 1905 Lady Lytton donated an inheritance of £1,000 to the Esperance Club, a singing and dancing club for working-class London girls, which revived Morris dancing. The club had been set up in response to distressing working conditions, and following her support of these women, Lady Lytton was enthused by the women's movement. Campaigning for prison reform and votes for women, Lady Lytton was imprisoned in Holloway Prison in 1909 for throwing a stone at Lloyd George's car, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, who she accused of hypocritically staying in a government that refuses women the vote but claims to support women's rights. Following this, Lady Lytton dedicated her life to the cause and was imprisoned on several occasions. Despite suffering from a heart attack in 1910 and a series of strokes, she was determined to write down her experiences, and she used her left hand to write her influential autobiography Prisons and Prisoners (1914).
Following her ill health, Lady Lytton was nursed by her mother at Homewood, a dower house at Knebworth built by Lady Lytton's brother-in-law Edwin Lutyens. The Arts and Crafts house was built for her in 1901 at the southern end of Park Wood on the Knebworth Estate. It is a Grade II listed building, and the gardens are also Grade II listed in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.