Kate Greenaway and The Language of Flowers
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Catherine Greenaway (17 March 1846 – 6 November 1901) was a Victorian artist and writer, known for her children's book illustrations. She received her education in graphic design and art between 1858 and 1871 from South Kensington School of Art and the Royal Female School of Art, and the Slade School of Fine Art. She began her career designing for the burgeoning holiday card market, producing Christmas and Valentine's cards. In 1879 wood-block engraver and printer, Edmund Evans, printed Under the Window, an instant best-seller, which established her reputation. Her collaboration with Evans continued throughout the 1880s and 1890s.
Interest in floriography soared in Victorian England and in the United States during the 19th century. Gifts of blooms, plants, and specific floral arrangements were used to send a coded message to the recipient, allowing the sender to express feelings which could not be spoken aloud in Victorian society. Armed with floral dictionaries, Victorians often exchanged small "talking bouquets", called nosegays or tussie-mussies, which could be worn or carried as a fashion accessory.
One of the most familiar of the language of flower books is Routledge's edition illustrated by Kate Greenaway, The Language of Flowers. First published in 1884, it continues to be reprinted to this day.
In this wonderfully unusual work, Kate Greenaway provides an enchantingly illustrated glossary of ‘the language of flowers’. It shares the tradition, sparked by renewed Victorian era interest in botany and exotic plants – of using flowers as a means of covert communication. A fascinating insight into a bygone era, when the gift of a Tamsy was a declaration of war, and a Garden Daisy meant ‘I share your sentiments’, this text is a real treasure. ‘The Language of Flowers’ contains eighty-two beautifully illustrated colour pages, and was originally published in 1884.
Kate Greenaway (1846 – 1901), was a children’s book illustrator and writer, and remains one of the most popular illustrators of all time. Edmund Evans produced her first book (‘Under the Window’) in 1879, which was an instant best-seller and cemented her pre-eminent position. Her charming children in quaint costumes and idyllic scenes captured the imagination of the contemporary public – and continue to delight over a century after their initial publication. The artwork is presented in conjunction with the text – both further refining and elucidating the other.
In Honor of Kate we want to highlight our Garden Collection for March.