I thought I would blog about a lovely little book I came across about flowers by Mandy Kirkby illustrated by Katie Tooke. I’m not knowledgeable about flowers, not by name nor history and really should know more considering how much I enjoy floral illustration. If you are like me and don’t want a heavy read like an encyclopedia or a detailed gardening book, but just want to have a better insight into well known flowers and their significance (without going too in-depth) then look no further.
The Language of Flowers contains fifty profiled flowers, highlighting their appearance in Victorian literature, poetry and art. You learn about the flower, where its come from and it’s general appearance and characteristics. Each profile is accompanied with a colourful illustration and is indexed by name, emotion and bouquet arrangement, nifty eh? What I think set’s this little book apart from more traditional flower dictionaries is that it goes into depth about the emotional perceptions we have of them, supported by historical literature and art references.
Find below a short snippet on the profile of dahlia – meaning dignity. One of my favourite flowers.
‘The Victorian’s loved it for it’s sensationally bright colours and immense variety. The ideal dahlia was the ball-shaped type: an uptight bloom with a tightly packed sphere of petals, sitting straight and composed on it’s sturdy stem – the perfect floral representation of dignity’.
“And thus the soul – if fortune cast
It’s lot to live in scenes less bright,
Should blossom amidst the adverse blast:
Nor suffer sorrow’s clouds to bright
It’s outward beauty – inward light.”
By an anonymous Victorian Poet