Thursday, 11 September 2014

Gilding the Lily - Botanica in the Home

Throughout the Eighteenth Century and beyond there was a supreme thirst for knowledge amongst the European aristocracy. It was a time when technology was advancing and society began to question the World around them. Indeed this was no new fascination; Since the beginning of time mankind has sought answers and solutions to the remarkable World in which we inhabit. However, the Georgians had an extraoridnary way of turning everything they did into a thing of beauty and a work of art. One example is how the study of Astrology was executed in the creation of magnificent clocks which represented the planets. Today one would simply download an 'app' and think nothing more of it. The Georgians ensured that their studies would also be represented in the arts, something which encouraged more people to take interest, not to mention the legacy that these objects created. 

One of the most fashionable topics of study towards the end of the Eighteenth Century that continued through to the Victorian era was the study of Botanica. Particularly endearing to women, the study of flowers and plants in the natural world was a way for the modern Lady to prove her status and education to the rest of society. This topic was considered appropriate and kept the gentlemen happy knowing that their wives were partaking in the study of something 'feminine and pretty.'

Indeed the influence of Botanica quickly developed into the home and became part of an interior's scheme. Cabinets filled with various specimens, albums of decoupage delicately placed, floral fabrics and chintzes upholstered onto furniture, embroidery depicting flora and fauna replacing previous interests. Women were not allowed to make decisions on many things, but the decor, that was non negotiable.

 Today I think Botany is still an exquisite theme that can be translated into any interior to bring an element of nature and femininity to the home, especially when the aim is to create an authentic Georgian residence. 

This incredible dinner Service 'Flora Danica' by Royal Copenhagen is said to be the most expensive China in the World. Each piece is signed twice, once by the artist and then by the gilder. Wouldn't this look lovely in the Dining Room.

 And again, a large range of Flora Danica on display

Although these cushions could be described as more 'Chinoiserie', they still fit the Botanic theme beautifully and would bring a sense of nature into any home. Fabric by de Gournay.

This Engish bedroom decked out in the famous Colefax and Fowler 'Bowood' fabric is ideal for a cosy guest room. Green is one of my favourite colours for bringing a sense of calm to a scheme and this fabric provides that perfectly. 

These hand painted decoupage eggs are just exquisitely beautiful and would look lovely placed amongst other Objets d'art to enhance that Georgian feel. Click HERE to learn how to create your own.

One of my favourite rooms of all time, the Bathroom at Milton in Cambridgeshire. The Georgians did not have Bathrooms but i'm certain this is what they would have wished for. What an interesting place to take a relaxing bath and unwind amongst nature.

These set of eight framed lithographs from are just lovely and are similar to the ones displayed above in the Bathroom at Milton.

Botanical prints available to buy online from the Royal Horticultural Society

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