Saturday, January 20, 2007

Plant Motifs and Art #3

On Wednesday I I visited the Winter Fragrance Flower Show of the Royal Horticultural Society at the Horticultural Halls in Westminster. It was a lovely opportunity to see blooms, medal winning botanical art and look at books! If you go on the second day and stay to the end you get the opportunity to leave with some of the show. I came home with an armful of show level lilies with enormously long stems for £3! They're the ones in the circle in the photo.

I was very impressed by the botanical art winning an RHS gold medal - including these lovely auriculas in watercolour by Brigitte Daniel (I have a very soft spot for auriculas and aspire to having an auricula theatre one day!). There was also some splendid work of peonies in acrylic and allotment vegetables in coloured pencil which were most attractive but I completely forgot to make a note of the artists' names. The reason for taking the photograph of the auriculas was that I was also very impressed with the way in which the work was hung - it was quite the best display in the show - in a manner characteristic of classic hanging styles using picture rails. It was also very interesting to note that not all botanical work in the show was framed - some was just matted for display.

One of the books I bought was "The Flowers of William Morris" by Derek Baker published for the centennial. It's described on the William Morris Society website thus
William Morris's flower patterns are known throughout the world for their unique combination of nature and order. This illustrated survey examines the artist's approach to nature and flowers.........
What I found extremely interesting, apart from the images of hand drawn designs where you can clearly see the process from pencil sketch more cetain deign lines through pen to colour washes, was that William Morris apparently also studied the flowers of Islamic art - and in particular the tulip - at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington. I knew I wasn't the first to have such an idea but I'd no idea that one of my heroes did likewise!

[Update on the transition from Old to New Blogger: I've discovered what the script problem was and have fixed it - see Blogger Update for details - so there should be no more problems clicking on links or images. Now all I have to do is work out how to increase the font size!]

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