Tuesday, 7 July 2015

peonies and V&A Indian floral patterns



At some point I scribbled down in my notebook that the Chinese name for a peony is sho yu, which means the most beautiful. What a fitting name! In Iceland, where I grew up, peonies are called farmer's roses - bóndarósir. Perhaps a blog post about peonies is a cliché but last year I accompanied them with a book on textiles and I thought textiles and peonies were a good annual theme. The latest textile book in my collection is V&A Pattern: Indian Florals.


On the cover: Length of furnishing fabric, cotton embroidered with silk thread,
Gujurat (for the European market), early 18th century (V&A: IS.298-1951)

The V&A Pattern: Indian Florals is a small book with only four pages of text by Rosemary Crill. It has 66 pages of prints, plus the one featured on the cover and a few additional ones (a total of 71). There are short descriptions below the prints (like my captions) and the book includes a high-resolution images disc with all the patterns.
Bed-cover, dyed and quilted cotton (chintz), Coromandel Coast (for the European market), c. 1725-50 (V&A: CIRC.465-1912)
Length of dress fabric, block-printed cotton (chintz), South India (for the European market), 18th century (V&A: IS.27-1976)

The V&A Pattern books are a wonderful introduction to the design archives - textiles, decorations, wallpapers and prints - of the Victoria and Albert Museum. For textile enthusiasts or students they are ideal for collecting. Next time I think I will go for Kimono or William Morris, or perhaps the Box-Set III, which includes the books: Spitalfields Silks, Chinese Textiles, Pop Patterns, and Walter Crane.

I find it a bit difficult to make up my mind, but the books aren't expensive so I believe that in a short time I will have a good collection on my coffee table and on my bookshelves.


As I write this, my last bouquet of peonies this season is sitting in a white ceramic vase on my kitchen table. I am going to risk sounding dramatic (I'm anything but) when I say that I wish I had the powers to stop the peonies from withering. I don't want to wait for almost a whole year to breathe in their heavenly scent again.

Peonies are indeed the most beautiful.


2 comments:

  1. Peonies are always a winner for any interior. However, right now it is way too hot in Munich and certainly in my rooftop apartment. All flowers would wilt within two days max...

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    1. luckily the high temperatures over here have gone down again so I'm hoping my last bouquet will survive just a little bit longer ... I'm constantly admiring it and feeding it fresh water every day

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