Tuesday, March 6, 2012
I'm busy as a bee creating new artwork, and I think that watching all those episodes of Downton Abbey has had a positive effect on both me and my artwork. You see, I'm not a huge lover of the Victorian period, it's often a little too formal and fussy for my taste, but there are a few aspects that I do love about that era. One of those things is the Victorian's love of flowers. Wealthy Victorians spent a considerable amount of time dedicated to the pursuit of gardening, flower arranging, and propagation of new flowers.
The glorious greenhouses and solariums built on some Victorian estates are a testament to their love for everything floral. And if you've been lucky enough to visit a Victorian mansion, you know how lovely the gardens were during that time period.
When we visited Biltmore a few years ago, I was immediately smitten with the beautiful gardens even more-so than the house, and informed Mr. Tide that I could indeed of lived happily during that time in history. He quickly added that I could have lived then "if" I had been a wealthy Victorian...so true!
I also love how the Victorians gave nearly every flower a meaning, mostly relating to love or beauty, the world of flowers became a secret language during the gilded age. Some flowers had meanings long before the Victorians came along of course, but they took it to a whole new level with their many sentimental attributes assigned to each variety.
Pansies for instance were said to represent loving thoughts or remembrance. If you received a bouquet of flowers from someone in the know during that time period you could expect to find out much more about what they were thinking than just the simple gesture of being given flowers. I like to think that during that part of our history that many a shy man was able to convey his undying love, not through words, but through his careful selection of flowers.
Wouldn't it be lovely if today people, instead of just grabbing whatever is on sale at the grocery store, (me included), took the time to really use flowers as a form of communication? Ahh, those crazy Victorians, at least the rich ones, clearly had a lot of time on their hands, something I'm a wee bit jealous of these days. At least these pansies can send loving thoughts to all of you though! :-)