• Jolly Jonquils: Daffodils from Walter Crane

    Posted on March 23, 2014 by in Art, Gardening

    I love Walter Crane’s humorous botanical illustrations

    And a whole batch of his flowers have now been released into the public domain via Flickr.

    A selection of dizzy daffodils

    Daffodils don’t really come under the literal Photographing Wildflowers remit, as the only ones to be seen around here are either cultivated, or garden escapees. But I couldn’t resist sharing these fun images from the Victorian era.

    walter crane daffodil illustration

    With a leaf from an old English book, A Jonquil will serve for a pen.

    daffodil trumpet illustration

    The Daffodil his trumpet blows, And after Spring a hunting goes.

    narcissus illustration

    Narcissus bends over the brook, Intent upon Daffa-Down-Dilly.

    The Legend of the Narcissus flower

    In Greek mythology, a hunter by the name of Narcissus was renowned for his beauty. He happened to be the son of a river god matched with a nymph. He was extremely proud of himself, which attracted the attention of Nemesis (the spirit of divine retribution), who attracted Narcissus to a pool. He saw his reflection and fell in love with it to the extent that he was unable to leave it, and eventually died.

    Floral fantasies of an English garden

    These lovely images originate from two books by Walter Crane (1845-1915): “A Floral Fantasy in an Old English Garden. Set forth in verses & coloured designs” 1899 and “Flora’s Feast. A masque of flowers, penned & pictured by Walter Crane” of the same year. I have not seen the books in the flesh but would infer there is some crossover between the two!

    The meaning of narcissus flowers

    Daffodils, jonquils and narcissus are the birth flowers for March. In the Victorian language of flowers, they represent new beginnings (presumably because they flower early in the season), and desire.

    See Walter Crane’s illustrations of stitchwort , daisies and snowdrops.