I have had printed recently an article entitled ‘Nineteenth Century British Rose Literature; a brief discourse on the 19th century literature, written in Britain, that is dedicated solely to the Rose.’
This is the first of a series of articles exploring the nature of 19th century Rose Literature. Further articles will include, through a study of the literature, The Growth in the Popularity of Roses, the Development of Rose Varieties and their method of Cultivation, the Rosarians and American and European Rose Literature.
I am including the first and last paragraphs below, together with some illustrations from the text. If after having perused these you would like a copy of the article please send me your details via my Contacts Page.
“It must have been the turning of the century or the whispers from France about the garden at Malmaison that prompted John Wedgewood to have the inspirational idea for the Horticultural Society of London. After this seed of an idea in 1800 it flowered on the 7th March 1804 when he called together a group of seven distinguished men from the world of Botany. The society was founded, the aim of which was to allow and encourage members to present papers on their horticultural activities and discoveries, to encourage discussion of them and implement their publication.”
“From these informative old books of the 19th century we can track the trends in rose cultivation, rose exhibiting and the development in the numbers and varieties of rose. We can also glean a great deal about the challenges faced by the writers of the time and the developments in printing. They did not have to hand our modern writing methods nor did they have, at the beginning of the century, the facility for illustrating their text with diagrams and photographs. These were expensive to produce. The artists at the beginning of the century had to acquire considerable financial backing in order to produce their beautiful monographs and it is documented that ‘William Paul rounded up one hundred and eighty seven sponsors to underwrite the fifteen colour plates in the First Edition of the Rose Garden’. We can see that line drawings printed using woodcuts appeared regularly about the middle of the century, closely followed by more intricate drawings and then black and white photos leaving the coloured photos to make their appearance at the beginning of the next century. We can only thank the writers for their knowledge, diligence and skill under what we would now regard as tedious circumstances. I, for one, am very thankful that each and everyone of them made the effort. Their works contribute so much to our knowledge of the Rose.”