Twelve Months of Flowers

February 20, 2015 § 4 Comments

If only it were true. Unless you count holly berries, there’s really not much in the way of floral color during northeastern winter months.

But “Twelve Months of Flowers” can be had via art prints, from the series published in 1730 by renowned British horticulturist and author Robert Furber. Mr. Furber’s name is the one most highly attributed to these exquisite prints, and while I’m grateful that he provided the insight, substantial research and knowledge (and, no doubt, the funds) to produce the collection, I’m mostly interested in the artistry.

Two of these prints hung in our dining room during my growing-up years – one May, one November, the months of my parent’s birthdays. Much admired, they gave a rich, subtle elegance to a modest space (and now that I think of it, may have influenced my own interest in drawing things botanical) ~ but in all those years, strangely, I don’t remember talking about the artist. So I went looking.

I discovered that the meticulously hand-colored engravings were created by English engraver Henry Fletcher, based on the paintings of Flemish-born artist Pieter Casteels, and that Twelve Months of Flowers was originally produced as a gardening guide in catalogue format and sold by subscription. (They also produced an equally stunning second series, Twelve Months of Fruits.) The images were aimed at wealthy landowners interested in growing plants for beauty more than functionality.

Each work is a glorious detail of plants in seasonal bloom, with each plant numbered, and, at the time, a list of the corresponding names. More than 400 plant species were featured. This was no small project. Huge talent. Enormous dedication to both botany and craft.

And so, a few centuries later, I thank them the three of them: Furber, Fletcher and Casteels ~ for their luscious collaboration of study, talent and skill. They are so beautiful, I would even venture to call them a labor of love. But that’s what art is.














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§ 4 Responses to Twelve Months of Flowers

  • Dyer weed says:

    So happy to see these urns of happiness and glad to know about the history behind them. I wonder if your mother knew about these people or purchased them on beauty alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dyer! I’m thinking she knew at least some of the history ~ made even more interesting because of my Dad’s farming background and gardening prowess ~ and it’s also possible she told me and I just didn’t take it in at the time!


  • Exquisite! A labor of love that’s worthy of the creator’s handiwork.

    There was a time in my life when I would’ve thought these were too fussy. But now I know for sure is that you can never surround yourself with too many flowers (unless of course, they’re on a doily covered sofa).

    Liked by 1 person

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