Montague Russell Page was born in Lincolnshire, the second son of the three children of Ida Flora, née Martin (1875–1963) and her husband, Harold Ethelbert Page, a solicitor in Lincoln. He was educated at Charterhouse School in Surrey (1918–24), going on to study in London at the Slade School of Fine Art in London University (1924–26), under Professor Henry Tonks. From 1927 to 1932 he studied art in Paris, and took some small gardening jobs in France.
He began his professional career with projects in Rutland (1928), and chateaux in France at Melun (1930) and Boussy Saint-Antoine (1932). On his return to the UK, Page was employed by the landscape architect Richard Sudell, and he began remodelling the gardens at Longleat – a work which would continue for many years. Between 1934 and 1938, he contributed articles to the periodical Landscape and Gardening. From 1935 to 1939 he worked in partnership with Geoffrey Jellicoe. Page and Jellicoe designed the landscape and building for the 'Caveman Restaurant' at Cheddar Gorge on the Longleat estate in Somerset, and worked at the Royal Lodge, Windsor; Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire; Holme House, Regent's Park, London; Broadway in the Cotswolds; and Charterhouse school. During this period, Page also worked at Leeds Castle, Kent (1936 and later); château Le Vert-Bois in France (1937); château de la Hulpe, Belgium (1937) and château de Mivoisin, France (1937 – 1950s).
After the war, Page went on to design gardens in Europe and the United States. His clients included:
- Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor and the Duchess of Windsor
- Count Sanminiatelli San Liberato
- King Leopold III of Belgium
- Suzanna Walton, wife of Sir William Walton
- Babe Paley and William S. Paley
- Oscar de la Renta
- Marcel Boussac
- Olive, Lady Baillie
- Baron and Baroness Thierry Van Zuylen van Nievelt
- Frick Museum.
In 1947, Page married Lida Gurdjieff, a daughter of the spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff, and together they had one son, David. They divorced in 1954. In 1954, Page married Mme Vera Milanova Daumal, widow of the poet Rene Daumal and former wife of the poet Hendrick Kramer. She died in 1962.
Page's autobiography, The Education of a Gardener, was published in 1962.
Page died on 4 January 1985 in London and was buried in an unmarked grave in Badminton, Gloucestershire.
In an interview by Christopher Woodward in The Telegraph, Page's niece, Vanessa showed Woodward some of the "treasured fragments" of her uncle's life, including a pamphlet on medicinal herbs by the writer and thinker, Idries Shah who, she explained, was a teacher in the Sufi mystical tradition, and who became "Page's spiritual mentor in Sixties London."
About Russell Page
- R. Page, The Education of a Gardener by Russell Page (1962 and reprints)
- G. van Zuylen and M. Schinz, The Gardens of Russell Page (1991; reprinted 2008)
- Amherst, Alicia (2006) . A History of Gardening in England (3rd ed.). Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publishing.
- Blomfield, Sir F. Reginald; Thomas, Inigo, Illustrator (1972) . The Formal Garden in England, 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan and Co.
- Clifford, Derek (1967). A History of Garden Design (2nd ed.). New York: Praeger.
- Gothein, Marie-Luise Schröeter (1863–1931); Wright, Walter P. (1864–1940); Archer-Hind, Laura; Alden Hopkins Collection (1928) . History of Garden Art. 2. London & Toronto, New York: J. M. Dent; 1928 Dutton. ISBN 978-3-424-00935-4. 945 pages Publisher: Hacker Art Books; Facsimile edition (June 1972) ISBN 0878170081; ISBN 978-0878170081.
- Gothein, Marie. Geschichte der Gartenkunst. München: Diederichs, 1988 ISBN 978-3-424-00935-4.
- Hadfield, Miles (1960). Gardening in Britain. Newton, Mass: C. T. Branford.
- Hussey, Christopher (1967). English Gardens and Landscapes, 1700–1750. Country Life.
- Hyams, Edward S.; Smith, Edwin, photos (1964). The English Garden. New York: H.N. Abrams.
- Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, B.; Goldman, L., eds. (1 May 2008), "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, pp. ref:odnb/96728, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/96728, retrieved 6 December 2019
- "A Capitol Idea". Official website. The United States National Arboretum. 1 April 2010. Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- "Russell Page (1906–1985)". Great British Gardens. Web Publications Ltd. Archived from the original on 19 June 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
- Woodward, Christopher (21 March 2015). "Russell Page: the most famous garden designer no one's ever heard of". The Telegraph (online). Archived from the original on 21 September 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.