Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Antique flower illustrations

Browsing through my bookshelf, I came across a lovely old book which came from my grandparents house and was given to me in the 1980s. Inside the front cover is an inscription:

To Herbert Girand Esq MD,
Professor of Chemistry and Materia Medica
in the Grant College, Bombay,
this garland from his native lands,
is dedicated by his Sister.

Faversham. 1st Jan 1846.

It was then given to my grandmother, Alice, as an eight-year old in 1908 by her father.

There are 30 pages of beautiful flower illustrations all painted by hand in the most fantastic detail. Here are just a few!

My grandfather always grew violets under the apple tree.
Every spring he would give me a little bunch when we visited on a Sunday afternoon.
Sometimes deep violet in colour, sometimes snow white!

Old fashioned roses, my favourite!
The best fragrance in the world.

Vetch is a tiny purple and mauve wildflower which we used to hunt for
in the grassy banks beside the lanes where my grandparents lived.
We used the road to walk along - I don't ever remember seeing a car!
That was in the 1960s in rural Oxfordshire on the edge of the Cotswolds.

Each illustration has a quotation from Shakespeare,
which was also coloured in by a very steady and patient hand!

The cover of the book is looking very worn but the colour of the ink has remained true because they've been hidden away from the sunlight! Aren't they beautiful!



  1. Hi Ros
    I love these antique flower illustrations to have such patients and a steady hand. My favorite is the Violets.

    I thought I would visit your blog and I am glad I did. I really enjoyed reading it. Susan

  2. Hi Susan, Welcome and thank you for visiting!
    I'm pleased you enjoyed the flowers. They are so pretty - and of course they are more than 150 years old!!!! Ros

  3. Hi Ros,
    That's a beautiful work of art. I can picture the scene of some quite delicate hands embroidering whilst there was day-light... such work of love and dedication

  4. The book is certainly a work of love. Months, maybe years, a bit like a hand-made quilt! I will post some more later for you to feast your eyes on. Ros