A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion Info

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Reviews for A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion:

4

Dec 26, 2018

Brief, quaint, delightful. Kirkby's book would have benefited from including images of the many paintings mentioned within the text, and the illustrations (unlike the cover art) are too rudimentary to be of much use. But with its short yet sentimental revelations on the symbolism of fifty popular flowers, A Victorian Flower Dictionary makes a charming gift for flower fanatics and fans of the Victorian era.
When in bud, the poppy holds tightly to its emerging flower; until suddenly, almost in the Brief, quaint, delightful. Kirkby's book would have benefited from including images of the many paintings mentioned within the text, and the illustrations (unlike the cover art) are too rudimentary to be of much use. But with its short yet sentimental revelations on the symbolism of fifty popular flowers, A Victorian Flower Dictionary makes a charming gift for flower fanatics and fans of the Victorian era.
When in bud, the poppy holds tightly to its emerging flower; until suddenly, almost in the blink of an eye, the two imprisoning sepals are shaken to the ground and its floral glory is revealed. In a ravishing spread of colours, from blood red to deep yellow, crushed-silk petals shimmering in the sun, the poppy provides a show of extraordinary lavishness. Yet its flowers remain open for just a few days and then all is finished. So much for just a moment of splendour, but what luxury and infinite pleasure on the way! ...more
4

Apr 01, 2020

This is a wonderful treasure trove of pretty flowers with colourful sketched illustrations, beautiful poems, and interesting folklore and mythology stories, as well as tidbits of how flowers were used in the Victorian era.

For my Honours project in 4th year Costume Studies this year, I chose to explore the relationship between the language of flowers and hand embroidery. It was a fascinating topic that has left me inspired in many ways, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this charming book and This is a wonderful treasure trove of pretty flowers with colourful sketched illustrations, beautiful poems, and interesting folklore and mythology stories, as well as tidbits of how flowers were used in the Victorian era.

For my Honours project in 4th year Costume Studies this year, I chose to explore the relationship between the language of flowers and hand embroidery. It was a fascinating topic that has left me inspired in many ways, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this charming book and looking for fascinating flower meanings and usage, as well as enjoying all the beautiful imagery.

The poppy, for example, which signifies "fantastic extravagance", is described thus:

"It is an intensely simple, intensely floral flower. All silk and flame, a scarlet cup...like a burning coal fallen from Heaven's altars."
John Ruskin, Proserpina



Today, we associate roses with love and romance, and mistletoe and holly to Christmastime, but did you know that every type and colour of rose holds a different meaning, and that in fact, certain colours were developed for the purpose of expression? Floriography was found everywhere in Victorian life, and each flower and plant held a special meaning, which could combine to express feelings that could not be spoken aloud.

Red tulips (declaration of love), iris (message), cyclamen (timid hope), and pansy (think of me) could combine to form a very sweet first courtship bouquet, for example.



"Take all the sweetness of a gift unsought,
And for the pansies send me back a thought."
Anon.

I find this language immensely interesting and beautiful and am of the strong opinion that we should bring it back. Who wouldn't want to rebuke a suitor by sending him a yellow carnation for disdain, or sending a posy of basil for hatred to your worst enemy? Who needs texting when you can send a flower bouquet instead! Not to mention that flowers in general are just lovely and we could all benefit by cultivating them more. Everyone start a garden!

At least we still have red roses, and everyone knows what they mean.



"The cowslip is a country wench,
The violet is a nun;
But I will woo the dainty rose,
The queen of every one."
Thomas Hood ...more
5

May 26, 2014

I remember, I first read the novel of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and also remember that the protagonist, Victoria, carried a dictionary meaning of flowers and their importance in the Victorian era, so imagine my surprise when one day, I browsing in bookstores, I found a book, a dictionary of flowers, with his history, his meaning and beautiful artwork, which included a foreword by the same author.

It was a revelation to read this book. Maybe not all like them flowers, because I remember, I first read the novel of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and also remember that the protagonist, Victoria, carried a dictionary meaning of flowers and their importance in the Victorian era, so imagine my surprise when one day, I browsing in bookstores, I found a book, a dictionary of flowers, with his history, his meaning and beautiful artwork, which included a foreword by the same author.

It was a revelation to read this book. Maybe not all like them flowers, because as the same Vanessa says in the prologue, we live in an information society, where the form of communication is not the same as it was centuries ago, but still, I think there are certain values that have sadly lost and this book reminded me that firstly, flowers always with us, they are always around us in the midst of nature, in large hills or in a pot at home. Flowers give us joy, flood our senses with its various perfumes, but read this dictionary has taught me that also have many medicinal properties form, aesthetics and even as a weapon. It all depends on who handle. One thing I know for sure is that I will never see any flowers in the same way as before. I always think a tulip is a declaration of love, the lily is a message, the ivy symbolizes fidelity, the cypress is a symbol of mourning and the lilacs symbolize the first feelings of love.
Absolutely recommended for everyone. It's not only a book for girls, especially since the Victorian era were educated in this aspect as many men as women.
...more
5

Jul 15, 2017

On of the best books gifted to me, the Language of Flowers combines the beauty of nature and the hidden meanings they carry. I'm a huge fan of symbolism so having a full book dedicated to this topic is fantastic. Not only do we get the meaning but we are also told the history and traditions that come along with these flowers.

You should pick it up if you like the topic or if you want to find a bit more about it. Also, it helps that is a pleasing to the eye. *wink wink*
3

May 09, 2013

I liked this even better than The Language of Flowers, the novel of which it is a companion (a rather disappointing novel, actually). The illustrations inside this book are not quite as "lavish" as the description on the back cover promised, and the lack of references lends a certain vagueness to the various flora-related anecdotes described. But what can I say, I just really like flower symbolism, I find it quite fascinating.
4

Jan 24, 2013

I would have much preferred a few illustrations to some of the paintings mentioned in the book. I had to stop and "google" them every few pages for a better understanding of their representation and meanings. However, it was a lovely reminder of The Language of Flowers. And I really enjoyed the literary references and the poems - they were quite the treat...

3

Jan 22, 2013

During my visit to Netherlands, I felt breath taken by the shaded of flowers that cannot be named because of their fatal beauty and colors. People actually speak the Language Of Flowers, in their homes, markets and Train Station, the language you learn from the book.
4

Dec 10, 2011

Great companion book for "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It was so interesting how all types of artists from poets, writers, painters used the language of flowers in their work. I was so intrigued with the way artists of very old paintings inserted certain flowers in their art to make statements. I found myself perusing art on the web to see the paintings they make reference to in this book. Loved it!
5

Jan 23, 2012

Buy this - it is so fun to have if you send flowers. Even if the person you send the flowers to doesn't know the code -- you do and that's enough.
4

Jan 11, 2012

Once you've read, and loved, The Language of Flowers, you'll be pleased to know there's something else to read to make the magic of the book linger. I learnt so much about flowers and their meanings. The romance of it all is seductive.
The Victorian language of flowers is fascinating and complex. I can only imagine the many scandals born as a result of giving the wrong bloom to the wrong person. You will treasure this book.
4

Sep 02, 2011

This was fun. It brought out all my vengeance-seeking bad girl tendencies... I so have a list of people who deserve a beautiful bouquet of scarlet geraniums. (Because they mean stupidity! How fantastic is that? Seriously.)

I first became interested in the language of flowers from, what else, a squishy novel. Those crazy repressed Victorians turned to forget-me-nots and tulips to say what needed to be said.

There was a pretty "plate" style color drawing for each flower... 50 different flowers This was fun. It brought out all my vengeance-seeking bad girl tendencies... I so have a list of people who deserve a beautiful bouquet of scarlet geraniums. (Because they mean stupidity! How fantastic is that? Seriously.)

I first became interested in the language of flowers from, what else, a squishy novel. Those crazy repressed Victorians turned to forget-me-nots and tulips to say what needed to be said.

There was a pretty "plate" style color drawing for each flower... 50 different flowers total. Instead of an index, the book had an expanded dictionary with more flowers (non-illustrated) and flower bouquet suggestions for many occasions. ...more
4

Sep 28, 2017

A delightful book, which seeks to translate the language of flowers. In the Victorian era, a flower was laced with symbolism and meaning. Giving a flower denoted intention, revealed emotion. It almost seems a shame that we have lost so much of the understanding of the secret meanings behind each flower. This book sets out each flower, handily listed in alphabetical order, and then explains both the meaning and the history behind how each flower attained that meaning. It does so in a very light A delightful book, which seeks to translate the language of flowers. In the Victorian era, a flower was laced with symbolism and meaning. Giving a flower denoted intention, revealed emotion. It almost seems a shame that we have lost so much of the understanding of the secret meanings behind each flower. This book sets out each flower, handily listed in alphabetical order, and then explains both the meaning and the history behind how each flower attained that meaning. It does so in a very light and entertaining way, making sure to include references to poetry and paintings in which the flower has featured. The book is also a very handy reference point for anyone interested in the social history of paintings, poetry and literature from the 19th century. I will almost certainly be referring to it again. ...more
4

Apr 06, 2013

A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion by Mandy Kirkby is so beautifully written. The fact, myths, legends about this adorable little book is wonderful. She not just lists what different flowers mean, though she tells you what the back story is on some featured flowers. It is a great resource book for any and all who what to know the history of different kinds of flowers. I enjoyed the parts about the legends of the Greek Gods that were involved with these different A Victorian Flower Dictionary: The Language of Flowers Companion by Mandy Kirkby is so beautifully written. The fact, myths, legends about this adorable little book is wonderful. She not just lists what different flowers mean, though she tells you what the back story is on some featured flowers. It is a great resource book for any and all who what to know the history of different kinds of flowers. I enjoyed the parts about the legends of the Greek Gods that were involved with these different kinds of flowers. I will never look at a flower the same again after reading this book, thank you Mandy Kirkby for your research on this breathtaking book of flowers. ...more
4

Dec 30, 2012

A gem of a book. Beautiful illustrations and a piece of refined elegance in a hectic world.
3

Sep 26, 2016

Impulse buy because of how beautiful it looks and was pleasantly surprised to find myself quite enjoying this!
4

Oct 15, 2018

The illustrations are beautiful. Selected flowers get paragraphs on how the flower received its meaning and examples in literature and art.
4

Oct 30, 2017

An excellent resource for writers and a charming nostalgic look at the way flowers were used to carry a message.
4

Mar 22, 2015

fun quick guide with great anecdotes. for a beginner who knows nothing about botany, it's pretty fantastic. for the seasoned gardener/botanist/victorian history buff, you too will probably love this.
4

Jan 02, 2013

Loved the histories around a select 50 or so flowers. The poems and artistic references were also a nice touch. I borrowed this one from a library, but I think I would like to have it in my collections. While the illustrations could of been better, it's still a great reference book.
4

Jan 19, 2018

I bought this book on a whim, but I was very glad I ended up purchasing it. I felt the information was useful, though certainly not excessive. The drawings inside are beautiful as well, and it offers a very good first introduction to some of the flower symbolism of the Victorian era. For anyone interested in learning a little bit more about this tradition, I definitely think this book is an easy first read.
4

Jul 14, 2015

I'm a guy who has a small bit of experience with growing plants, but just with vegetables, so I thought maybe I could learn a little bit about the more decorative side of gardening. This book was a delight; now instead of just looking at flowers, I can actually anchor my memory on the emotions associated with particular blooms. For instance, when I see a Dahlia now, I think of it standing with pride and majesty (because the emotion that the Victorian's associated with it is dignity.) It has made I'm a guy who has a small bit of experience with growing plants, but just with vegetables, so I thought maybe I could learn a little bit about the more decorative side of gardening. This book was a delight; now instead of just looking at flowers, I can actually anchor my memory on the emotions associated with particular blooms. For instance, when I see a Dahlia now, I think of it standing with pride and majesty (because the emotion that the Victorian's associated with it is dignity.) It has made my world just a teeny touch richer. This book is a super easy, fun, quick read and was the perfect little diversion for me between heavier tombs. ...more
4

Nov 06, 2011

Overall I think this book was so cute and interesting. I think it will definitely have me trying to incorporate some of this new knowledge into my life. I would definitely be interested in reading another volume about this subject now and think it's a great idea that there has been a miscellany created for a novel I loved. More authors should do this. I gave this book 4.5 stars. It would be nicer if it featured more flowers or showed me some interesting flower projects or something I could do. Overall I think this book was so cute and interesting. I think it will definitely have me trying to incorporate some of this new knowledge into my life. I would definitely be interested in reading another volume about this subject now and think it's a great idea that there has been a miscellany created for a novel I loved. More authors should do this. I gave this book 4.5 stars. It would be nicer if it featured more flowers or showed me some interesting flower projects or something I could do. It was still pretty cool though.

full review: http://quirkygirllikesvintage.blogspo... ...more
4

May 24, 2012

A Victorian Flower Dictionary by Mandy Kirkby and Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a wonderful companion to Diffenbaughs novel, The Language of Flowers. Beginning with a few introductory pages Diffenbaugh writes that, In every culture throughout time, flowers have been central to the human experience. The book is arranges in alpha order from anemone to weeping willow and illustrates in simple two color illustration the flower that is being defined and explored. There are fifty flowers highlighted and the A Victorian Flower Dictionary by Mandy Kirkby and Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a wonderful companion to Diffenbaugh’s novel, The Language of Flowers. Beginning with a few introductory pages Diffenbaugh writes that, “In every culture throughout time, flowers have been central to the human experience.” The book is arranges in alpha order from anemone to weeping willow and illustrates in simple two color illustration the flower that is being defined and explored. There are fifty flowers highlighted and the information and poetry is descriptive. As Diffenbaugh explains, this book was designed as a relevant dictionary for the modern reader and it serves that function well. If you are a lover of flowers and exploring their history and meanings, this would be a good addition to your library. Happy reading and gardening. ...more
4

Jan 31, 2020

This book has a nicely detailed dictionary and special occasions guide in the back for an easy look over. The meat of the book have poem or literary snippets relating to each flower that got a section. Its a bit of a challenging read but I was very pleased to finish it. This book has a nicely detailed dictionary and special occasions guide in the back for an easy look over. The meat of the book have poem or literary snippets relating to each flower that got a section. It’s a bit of a challenging read but I was very pleased to finish it. ...more
4

Jul 27, 2019

This might not be the quintessential guide to Victorian flower symbolism and meanings, but it is a beautiful book. Kirkby includes poetry selections with every entry. She runs the gamut of British poets to illustrate each selected flower's symbolic meaning. Poets included are Shakespeare, Robert Herrick, Robert Burns, and Christopher Marlowe. There are also a few Romantics like Coleridge and Keats included. Obviously the Victorians are represented: Ann Bronte, Robert Browning, Thomas Hardy, This might not be the quintessential guide to Victorian flower symbolism and meanings, but it is a beautiful book. Kirkby includes poetry selections with every entry. She runs the gamut of British poets to illustrate each selected flower's symbolic meaning. Poets included are Shakespeare, Robert Herrick, Robert Burns, and Christopher Marlowe. There are also a few Romantics like Coleridge and Keats included. Obviously the Victorians are represented: Ann Bronte, Robert Browning, Thomas Hardy, Christina Rossetti, Swinburne, Tennyson. Kirkby uses many anonymous ancient poems and traditional songs as well.

In the back of the book is a more comprehensive dictionary list of flower meanings. She also includes "Flowers for Special Occasions"---combination of flowers for bouquets to celebrate courtship and weddings and births. Funeral arrangement suggestions are also given.

I actually picked up this book because the introduction was done by Vannessa Diffenbaugh, the author of The Language of Flowers. In fact, this book is marketed as a companion piece to that novel. (I do, however, think I remember a flower dictionary included with The Language of Flowers. ...more

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