Sunday, January 24, 2010


Florilegium literally means "flower book". A florilegium can be a collection of writings or a portfolio of flower pictures. Of course my interest is in the floral aspects but there are certainly times when I have seen both combined very well. Florilegium also crosses over into the world of music with this British ensemble.

The earliest florilegia—anthologies of illustrations describing living collections of flowering plants—first appeared 400 years ago. Europe's royalty was avidly assembling collections of new and rare plants from all corners of the world and had begun to commission artists to record the marvels growing in their gardens. The illustrated herbals of previous centuries were often of considerable beauty, but they were, above all, medical books. Florilegia were drawn from life and botanically accurate, but they also placed new and exuberant emphasis on the beauty of plants. ... Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens also has a Florilegium Society with many artists who have added their botanical renderings to the collection.

Sometimes Florilegia also focused on other aspects beyond personal summary of exotic or precious blooms. This Florilegium is both a Book of Flowers and a Herbal describing the characteristics and medicinal effects of plants. The text is in rhymes and the illustrations also show animals and humans.

Sweerts Florilegium was used to advertise his flower trading business.

It seems that modern day Florilegia are also popular. An Irish Florilegium II

Artist Elisabeth Ochsenfeld created a body of work titled Florilegium. This collection of plants are more interpretative and lyrical than those found in scientific florilegia.

And finally two Florilegia presented on Woolgathersome blog. This collection contains some very big names in the world of art and all have focused on the lowly flower at different times in their career. Part I is here and then Part 2. Tucked among all the images are literary selections.

Coming up in the next post Jacques Nimki the master of Florilegium.


Anonymous said...

Hello fellow seem to be someone who might know the name of a certain flower my mother has. I posted a photo of it on my blog in the article entitled "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS PINK" is a gorgeous flowering plant..

if you have the time...

layers said...

You are really exploring flower botany-- a good way to continue in your series. I recently found in a second hand store someone's old pressed flower scrap book-- each pressed flower was accompanied with a detailed outline...a fabulous find.

Margaret Ryall said...

Unfortunately my love of flowers does not extend to the scientific. Classifications and names get lost in my head two minutes after I read them. I am more interested in the history and aesthetic aspects of flowers.

Your drawings are beautiful.

Kathy said...

Something new! I'd never heard of a "florilegium" before, and the examples you provided are beautiful. Thank you!

Shayla said...

Thank you for the resources, Margaret. I really enjoyed Part I and Part II.

Mary Paquet said...

Margaret, I appreciate your discussions f all things floral. Forilegium is a new word for me. Thanks.

I have begun a series exploring California Poppies using different design aspects. I love the poppies that bloom in great profusion across the hills and valleys in the spring. I want to see where this takes me.

Mark Sheeky said...

Hi Margaret! I'd not heard of florilegium. I'm amazed that there's a type of "flower music" I'd not heard of either. I feel inspired. Thanks for the post.

beauty comma said...

i followed a link on the british ensemble florilegium's website to youtube, where i got to listen to some very interesting and lovely bolivian baroque music. did you find this? it's here: