A bird who likes roses


Bird sculpture

The hedgerows at the moment are bursting with wild roses.  I think they’re Dog Rose – familiar for scrambling and climbing with five large pink or white petals, many stamens and a faint sweet smell.  One grew at the base of my Sycamore tree and now it reaches up into the branches and tumbles over bringing arches of the prettiest delicate blooms.

They are so perfectly romantic and conjure times past.  I’m reminded of Redoute’s illustrations from Redoute and the Culture of Roses.

Redoute was born into a family of painters and followed this career.  His most important creative period began when, in 1798, Napoleon’s first wife Josephine, acquired the Malmaison chateau in Rueil, west of Paris.  Under the patronage of Empress Josephine a book about lilies was published in several volumes with nearly 500 colour engravings all produced from Redoute’s own watercolours.

Josephine’s special interest however was roses, and she was in contact with growers throughout Europe for her rose garden which boasted around 250 rose varieties.  The three volumes of Redoute’s rose book were published in installments between 1817 and 1824.  There was a large folio edition that contained a monochrome engraving and a hand-coloured engraving for each rose.

Filled with Redoute’s sublime images, and my own cascading delight, I was very sure all the time of carving that this sculpture was of a bird who liked roses.


Birds who like roses


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