top of page

Walter Crane. Flora's feast: a masque of flowers. London: Cassell, 1892

“Crane, a partisan of the Aesthetic Movement throughout the 1870s and, later, a guiding force in the Arts and Crafts Movement, declared himself a socialist in 1884. From that time onward, until his death in 1915, he almost single-habdedly created the visual culture of English socialism, a visual culture that deployed the garden as a vital conceptual category. This socialism evolved from the visual and the aesthetic; political discourse merely provided the vocabulary for what Crane was already evoking with his art -a society reborn into beauty. For the artist, his work represented this 'search for a new harmony, a higher sense of beauty' that socialism promised (...) Floral imagery predominates in Crane's flower books, which appeared between 1889 and 1906. His first, Flora's Feast: A Masquerade of Flowers (1889), was published by Cassell, with the second, Queen Summer: Or the Tourney of the Lily and the Rose (1890), published the following year. Both books feature colour lithographs of flowers in varying guises. In Flora's Feast, for example, the goddess of springtime awakens the flowers from their winter slumber, while Queen Summer tells the fanciful story of a joust between a lily and a rose for the heart of the queen. These texts were not aimed specifically at children and they proved popular with readers of all ages.”

Morna O'Neill. "Walter Crane's floral fantasy: the garden in Arts and Crafts politics". Graden History, vol. 36, no. 2 (Winter 2008)

bottom of page