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Paintings of Flowers like the Cabbage Rose Flourished in Victorian England

Recently I received an email from a nursery simply called Cabbage Roses that sells such roses which stand apart from the popular hybrid tea variety.

Since I do not have much sun in my garden, the number of roses I grow is small, but I do love the color and fragrance they can bring to the garden. 

Then I remembered that cabbage roses were important in the early Victorian period of flower gardens in England. 

Nicolette Scourse writes in her book The Victorians and their Flowers, “In the Romantic era early in the nineteenth century, roses climbed artificial ruins and classical columns, while high Victorian taste preferred strongly scented, full-faced flowers straddling gothic trellises and arbors.”

She even quotes from Rebecca Hey’s book of poems The Moral of Flowers, “Gem of the bower, sweet rose! the fairest, brightest of the gay tribes which drink the summer beam.”

Scourse features in her book this image [below] called ‘Group of Roses’ painted by Robert John Thorton (1768 – 1837) . Included in the group of flowers appear three types of Cabbage or Provence Rose: double pink, white and striped. Notice the fullness of the flower thus explaining a bit of the reason for its name ‘cabbage.’

Cabbage Rose by Robert John Thornton from Temple of Flora
Group of Roses by Robert John Thornton from his book Temple of Flora (1799)

This painting illustrates how important flowers were to Victorian England, and eventually to America.

And among that group of flowers appeared the cabbage rose.

Paintings of flowers like the cabbage rose flourished in Victorian England.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

    1. Donna, illustrations of the garden have often motivated people like you and me to take some action in our own gardens. Not suprised to see you would consider these cabbage roses in your own garden. Thanks.

    1. Beth, when I first saw this painting, all I could think of is what a beautiful rose. You’re right. It does seem to drive one into the garden. It is too bad that I have so much shade here, but I do grow a few roses.

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