Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers (Volume 1) (Hidden Languages)

Published on 12 February 2024 at 12:14

Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers (Volume 1) (Hidden Languages)

By Jessica Roux

Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2020, 224 pages


I don't know why I am drawn to all things Victorian.  I guess I love the dress, the manners, but most of all, the way they utilized and used flowers, herbs and plants.  


Back in the day, they used flowers to convey their emotions, since it wasn't considered proper to express emotions openly.   Flowers and herbs were used to say what they meant.  Bouquets, tussie mussies and nosegays were used in place of the spoken word, and each plant was given a symbolic meaning.  The historical aspect of this is so very interesting.  After the first World War, this practice fell out of favor, but we still have the remnants of it that comes out here and there.  Roses, for instance, convey love at Valentine's Day and as bouquets that lovers give to each other.  "The elegance and beauty of flowers," says the author, "have not dwindled---only our knowledge of their coded meanings.  I hope this book, apart from offering a view into the history of floriography, will encourage readers to look at flowers and herbs in a new way, perhaps assigning their own meanings to the blooms that inspire them most."


The illustrations are gorgeous.  They are colorful and stunning and yes, have a bit of a Victorian flair.    The author, after all, is a popular artist.  Her biography states, "Jessica Roux is a freelance illustrator and designer, and a plant and animal enthusiast. Using subdued colors and rhythmic shapes, she renders flora and fauna with intricate detail reminiscent of old-world beauty."   Her website has a wide range of art-detailed products; tea towels, stationary, blankets and signed copies of her book... Home | Jessica Roux (shopjessicaroux.com)


For me, the book is a fascinating look into the mind of the Victorians.  How I love to learn that Azaleas mean fragility or that Baby's Breath means purity and innocence.  The author gives the origins of beliefs as well as how to pair the plant with another and what that means. There's something to say about harkening back to a simpler time of romance and purity.  If you have a fascination with plants this book is for you.



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