In 1977 The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden was a worldwide publishing sensation, and it was thought that this naturalist's collection of paintings, musings and poetic extracts was a discovery the quality of which would never be matched.
Recently, however, an exquisite volume of Victorian flower paintings has come to light in Denmark, the treasured heirloom of the descendants of Fanny Robinson, a talented amateur artist who is known to have been painting in Norfolk in the 1840s.
Her "Book of Memory", as she calls it, combines evocative poetry--including extracts from Keats and Shakespeare--with fine illumination, and most startling of all, exquisite watercolour studies that are both botanically accurate and a perfect example of a high Victorian style of floral illustration.
The poetical extracts encourage the reader to reflect upon such universals as nature, beauty, truth and hope. The illustrated flower groupings subtly reflect the mood of the poetry but have additional and intriguing symbolic meanings that are fascinatingly explained in the commentary by Gill Saunders, a senior curator in the Department of Prints, Drawings and Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
With over forty full-page plates and more than a hundred full- colour details, The Country Flowers of a Victorian Lady takes the reader on a delightful journey into Fanny Robinson's leisured and cultivated world of flower, pen and brush.
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