Phyllis Reiss

Phyllis Emily Reiss born Phyllis Emily Lucas (October 3, 1886 – 1961) was a British garden designer noted for her work at Tintinhull Garden.

Phyllis Reiss
Phyllis Emily Lucas

October 3, 1886
NationalityUnited Kingdom
OccupationGarden designer
Known fordesigning Tintinhull Gardens
Spouse(s)Capt. F.E. Reiss


Reiss was born in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire. Her parents were Edith Hamilton (born Crake) and Colonel Alfred George Lucas. Her father had been in the army[1] and he served as High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1904[2] and well as a mayor of Lowestoft.[1]

They had a substantial home at Dowdeswell Manor in the Cotwolds near to Hidcote Manor Gardens.[3]

In 1933 Reiss and her husband, Capt. F.E. Reiss, bought Tintinhull House and Garden.[4] The garden layout had been developed by Dr. Price who had created triangular and diamond shaped flagstone paths and ornamental domes of box were planted in the 1920s.[5]

The Formal Gardens behind Tintinhull House in 2001

The existing early landscaping was expanded by Reiss starting in 1933 in an Arts and Crafts "Hidcote" style.[6] The 1.5 acres (0.61 ha) garden was separated into "rooms" by yew hedges and walls.[7] The different areas included Eagle Court, Middle Garden, Fountain Garden and Pool Garden.[6] The pool garden was their only additional area[8] and it was created on the site of a former tennis court.[5] This pool garden was a memorial to a nephew who had lost his life during the war above Malta.[8] A painting of him, Michael Lucas, is at Tintinhull.[9]

In 1954 Reiss gave the house and garden to the National Trust, but she continued to live in the house and care for the garden.

Death and legacyEdit

Reiss died in 1961[1] and the National Trust continue to look after the property.[10] The house's later tenants included the garden designer and writer Penelope Hobhouse and her husband Prof John Malins from 1980 to 1993.[8] Reiss's carefree planting was said to have had a strong influence of Hobhouse as well as the American born designer Lanning Roper and Dame Sylvia Crowe.[11]


  1. ^ a b c "Reiss [née Lucas], Phyllis Emily (1886–1961), garden designer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/48842. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  2. ^ "No. 27655". The London Gazette. 8 March 1904. p. 1538.
  3. ^ "TINTINHULL HOUSE, Tintinhull - 1001156 | Historic England". Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  4. ^ Hailes, Julia. "Tintinhull House". Julia Hailes. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  5. ^ a b Bond, James (1998). Somerset Parks and Gardens. Somerset Books. pp. 139–140. ISBN 978-0-86183-465-5.
  6. ^ a b Hegarty, Lesley (2 April 2021). "Treasures at Tintinhull". Somerset Life. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Tintinhull House Garden". Great British Gardens. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "Tintinhull House Garden". Garden Visit. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Michael Lucas (d.1945), Nephew of Captain and Mrs F. E. Reiss | Art UK". Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  10. ^ "A gardener's garden". National Trust. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  11. ^ "Inspiring female garden designers in British history". Gardens Illustrated. Retrieved 2021-04-02.