Introducing April's newest Collection for 2022 - Lords and Ladies. It is the first print to be released as part of the Poisonous Plants Series. The Collection will go live in June 2022.
This print collection is inspired by the aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts Movement and William Morris's Wallpaper, interwoven with a pinch of folklore, wrapped in the atmosphere of a Victorian gothic novel.
I've been working away over the last few months on a new illustration project about the UK's poisonous plants. I've amassed a long list and as the list got longer, and longer, and longer, it grew (no pun intended) into a bigger project than I had initially planned.
A few weeks ago, (when out for a walk in my local woods) I noticed hoards of Lords and Ladies bursting through the ground; their strange flower and lush green leaves grabbed my imagination and thus I decided this would be the first plant in this series.
Lords and Ladies (Arum Maculatum) is a shade-loving tuberous perennial, native to UK woodlands and hedgerows, which can often become established in gardens. In the Autumn, the bright berries appear and are particularly toxic.
Over the centuries the name of this plant as changed, many of the names with a racy undertone because of the shape of the flower, and research suggests that the Victorian's may have started using the less vulgar "Lords and Ladies'. But I suppose it does change if you add in an apostrophe and spell it "Lord's and Lady's"...
I love a good bit of complex pattern, colour, maximalism and foliage!
The theme of this new collection came about from the Victorian name change of this plant. I started researching Victorian aesthetics - the emergence of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the popularity of William Morris' patterns and wallpapers. But also, cultural influences at the time such as the growth of the gothic novel, such as Jane Eyre, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the earlier Wuthering Heights.
Poisons as Part of Life
Also the shocking Victorian phenomenon of poisons being sold readily in the high street and then kept around the house - often on shelves next to food! Poisons like arsenic were used every day in cleaning, cosmetics and medicines. But also, rather aptly, it was used to create the vibrant green colour used in wallpapers at the time. Hence why the green colourway of this pattern is called Arsenic Green.
After the moodboard and ideas were collated, then it was time to get drawing and designing.
That is for the next post. :)