Immortalising spring flowers

Primula Auricula 'Clouded Yellow', from\

The arrival of the English spring (slightly delayed) reminds us how much flowers of all kinds were appreciated in the past for their ephemeral beauty. Keen gardeners would invest significant resources in fostering delicate plants, building walled gardens and even ‘theatres’ to shelter and display prized blooms. Plant breeding was a form of science open to all – and still is, with new varieties of tulips, auriculas and roses developed every year. The forms of flowers most appreciated in the past can be seen on luxurious textiles and ceramics, which offer permanent reminders of a fragile beauty.

Man's silk waistcoat, professionally embroidered in Lyon c1760 V&A 1571-1904

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