I have called these Snippets because they will be short anecdotes about the everyday happenings in the library. They will include comments, quotations and images relating to items in the library, the search for new acquisitions and all rose related subjects.

I would be pleased if you felt able to comment and leave your thoughts and ideas. Click on the heading and a comments box will appear at the bottom of each snippet.

  • Poetry and Roses.

    I do love it when literature and roses come together and in this case poetry. To add even more interest this is about the poetry of Lord Byron and the paintings of Catharina Klein. When I discovered that Catharina had illustrated a book of poetry entitled ‘Rubies from Byron’ I just had to find it. It is a beautiful little book bound in a soft suede but I had no idea of the date it was published.

    Lord George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) lived before Catharina Klein (1861-1929). The publishers De Wolfe, Fiske and Co. existed between 1880 and 1905 so the book must have been published during that period.

    ‘The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!

    Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

    Where grew the arts of war and peace, –

    Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!

    Eternal summer gilds them yet,

    But all, except their sun is set.

  • Histoire des Roses.

    ‘Histoire des Roses’ (1819) by Charles Malo. A beautiful little book with twelve illustrations by P. Bessa. Measuring only 9cm by 13cm its plain cloth green cover disguises the beauty within. It is unbelievable knowing this book is 200 years old.

    In 2017 when the Royal National Rose Society had to close its doors and gardens I was lucky enough to buy the books from the extensive library that had been collected over nearly 150 years. Among those books were about 50 French ones, some of which have beautiful illustrations. I look at these regularly but the little book above had become overlooked as it sits on the shelf with several other little books.

    Title page.

    Three of the twelve illustrations.

  • In the style of the Dutch painters of the 17th century.

    I haven’t bought a painting like this before but I thought the roses were beautifully painted and the glass of wine only added to the composition! One always hopes that a painting such as this may be by a professional artist but the research I have done leads me nowhere. The signature is unclear and although it begins ‘ J van ‘ I am under no illusion that it is by one of that great family of artists.

    I will appreciate the painting for what it is; a very attractive picture. Maybe the style of glass will be able to tell me something . . . . . .

    The lovely old roses.

    A great style of glass.

    A very unclear signature.

    The Dutch style painting.

  • A new name every day . . . . . .

    I search the auction houses at least weekly for rose paintings that are affordable for me, the amateur collector. Reluctantly I pass over the Harold Claytons, Cecil Kennedys, James Nobles and the like leaving those to the lucky people who can justify paying for them. Occasionally I come across a painting that appeals to me just as much as those by the fine artists who are well known. A typical example is my most recent find by Arthur Fidler, an artist whose name I do not know.

    In a web search I found one or two other paintings by him but nothing about him personally. To me the beautiful rose painting looks so skilfully executed I cannot believe I have not ‘discovered’ him before. I am not a reliable art critic and only judge by what I like so you must make a judgement yourself.

  • The missing Kleins . . . . . . . .

    I have recently added a story about Catharina Klein to the Story page so I thought this would be an appropriate snippet. I must have at least 5 or 6 hundred of her paintings on cards as I have been collecting for a while now. There are two in particular that I would love to find in order to complete a set of four. I do not know why these cards appeal but they do. Perhaps it is because they stand out as different from the rest. As you can see I have the red and the yellow but there is also a pink and apricot in the set. I know because I have seen them on Pinterest where a lucky person was displaying them.

    There are hundreds more Klein cards for me to find but it is the companions for these two that I would like . . . . . .

    I must share with you her alphabet cards at some point but there is so much about Catharina Klein and her paintings that would be good to share . . . an amazing lady with an amazing talent. . . . .

  • R. A. Foster – the story goes on . . . . .

    Sorry to be so long in coming back with this post . . . . .a slight accident.. . . . . . . In my last snippet regarding Rebecca Foster I said I would share with you some images of the paintings I bought from an auction house in the West Country. You will see five of these below. They are watercolours. I will share the oils another time. Even though they are not roses I am very pleased to have found them.

    The most exciting development, however, is that I suggested I would love to know who was selling the paintings. I know now as the seller, Rebecca’s grand daughter, contacted me and is providing me with some great detail for my research.

  • R A Foster . . continued. . .

    Continuing the R A Foster theme . . . .I have been looking for her paintings, either watercolours or oils, to buy for some long time now but have only found ones that have been sold in the past. To my amazement, last week nine came along at once in an auction house in Cornwall. I did the only decent thing possible but the problem was I was not the only buyer after them. Perhaps I should stick to buying her postcards.

    I would love to find out who was selling them as they must be a collector and I would also love to know who the underbidder was as they also must be interested in her paintings.

    I will share some photos when I receive the paintings but for now these are some of the paintings she had published as postcards.

  • R A Foster update.

    For some time now I have been researching into the life and work of the flower artist Rebecca Ann Foster or R A Foster as she always signs her work. She first held my attention when I discovered her beautiful paintings of roses on postcards that were published at the beginning of the 20th century. She was, however, a fine artist who exhibited many paintings in various galleries. Together with information about her life I am endeavouring to compile a list of the works she produced and the postcards she had published.

    To add complication to this I have, in the last week, discovered that there have been a number of prints published by one of the companies who published her postcards. When I feel I have finally achieved my task I will include the research in one of my stories.

  • Do you remember?

    This beautiful garden sadly exists no longer. It died in 2017 along with the Royal National Rose Society. Fortunately out of the ashes has arisen The Rose Society UK, which is going from strength to strength.

  • The Soul of the Rose.

    About a year ago, before our lives changed so suddenly and drastically, I was about to have printed a book of rose stories ‘The Soul of the Rose’. It was to include 30 stories and many images, also quotations and verse. Now that plan has changed. I am not only showcasing the museum on line but also the stories that were to be in the book. They include some amazing people . . . . . .

  • A new style of rummaging!

    I know there are many things we have missed over the last few months but I hate to admit that it is the antique fairs, bazaars and shops that I have missed most of all. At least I have discovered more auction houses and antique sites on line which have enabled me to rummage in a different way. The art postcard collection has certainly grown, the Limoges brooch collection too. One or two more paintings have also found their way into the gallery section of the library.

  • Collecting a memory.

    The best thing about collecting is very often the memory that is attached to the discovery. This pretty but otherwise insignificant cup and saucer holds one of the best memories for me. Found in a brocante in France it was, looking back, one of those unforgettable moments when everything was perfect.

    Cup and saucer
  • A Great New Website.

    I am delighted this new website is ready for me to showcase my collections of rose memorabilia. The previous Rosarian Library site focussed mostly on the books but this one will include the Library, Gallery and Museum.

    I am hoping many of you, who also love roses, will enjoy my Snippets and Stories as well as the images of the collections.

All Snippets

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