Flowers have always been culturally significant, from the ancient Greeks assigning plants to specific gods, to the ancient Egyptians making the Lotus and Papyrus flowers symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt. An extension of flowers’ position in international culture is their use in marking holidays and festivals, and the practice of giving and receiving bouquets as gifts.
This practice was popularised in medieval Britain, where gentlewomen would often receive small bunches of flowers known as ‘nosegays’, which they would attach to their bodices and hair. ‘Gay’ in this instance was synonymous with delightful, and ‘nosegay’ literally meant ‘something which delights the nose’. As well as delighting their recipient, such gifts undoubtedly had a practical use in the odoriferous era before running water, sewage systems, or deodorant. During outbreaks of plague, the sweet smell of a nosegay was even thought to ward off the foul stench of disease, and in this way, flower gifts became more than just ornamental.
To give a flower came to imply great care and devotion, and each bloom took on a unique symbolism; violets for faithfulness; carnations for grace; tulips for true love - the list goes on. As well as different symbols, flowers were attached to different festivals, such as the Yuletide poinsettia, the funereal lily, and the red rose - synonymous with Valentine’s Day. Today, a cornerstone of Mothering Sunday is the daffodil, with children across the UK drawing, painting, collaging and plucking these bright symbols of spring to bestow upon their mothers. Many adults will have fond memories of the variously misshapen daffodil-esque offerings they produced as children, and here at Mall Galleries, we have come up with a creative way to continue this tradition of springtime motherly delight.
On Buy Art | Buy Now, we have curated a selection of floral artworks by some of the UK’s best contemporary artists, including Scottish artist and television broadcaster, Lachlan Goudie, award-winning painter Charlotte Sorapure, meticulous still-life artist Susan Angharad Williams, and President of the Pastel Society, Jeannette Hayes. Flora features works in all mediums and styles to guarantee a perfect bloom for every mum, and through Buy Art | Buy Now, you receive free delivery to mainland UK, and a two-week grace period to make sure that mum is wholly happy with her new bouquet.
Here’s what some of our contributing artists had to say about the practice and purpose of floral painting:
‘A painting of flowers sits at the intersection of nature, human creativity, and the man-made object’, says 2018 finalist of the Artists & Illustrators Artist of the Year Awards, Michael Jules Lang.
‘The British painter, Winifred Nicholson, said 'to me they are the secret of the cosmos', and I agree; flowers seem to offer a profound but often intangible sense of connection. In the past few years I have travelled to many gardens for inspiration; each one expresses something of the ephemeral, and the beautiful, precious transience of the natural world, wherein we are only one part. I hope my paintings bring this sense of connection into the homes of the people who own them’, says Anne-Marie Butlin.