Inside: A collection of gorgeous Lily of the Valley botanical illustrations and drawings to download and print for free. All the vintage flower prints are in the Public Domain.
It feels like a very significant moment in history for the UK with the passing of the Queen. I happened to be in London this weekend. After dinner in Piccadilly on Friday night, I walked down the Mall to Buckingham Palace.
It was 11 pm, and the Mall was busy with people and press from all over the world strolling towards the Palace. I joined them in viewing the vast number of beautiful and fragrant flowers along the palace railings. And I wondered what the Queen’s favourite flowers were.
During the pandemic, there was a virtual Chelsea Flower Show, and Buckingham Palace revealed that the Lily of the Valley is one of the Queen’s most-loved blooms. They are featured in her coronation bouquet and are grown in the Buckingham palace gardens.
So as a small tribute to Her Majesty, I have added Lily of the Valley botanical illustrations and drawings to the awesome collection of vintage botanicals on Pictureboxblue.
I grew up in Hong Kong, and when I was seven, the Queen visited. I remember receiving that famous royal wave whilst waiting on the roadside for her to pass in an open-top Rolls Royce car.
Floral Tribute by Simon Armitage
The Poet Laurette Simon Armitage has just written a poem for the Queen through the metaphor of the lily of the valley. The first letter of each line spells out “Elizabeth” when taken together.
|Floral Tribute by Simon Armitage:|
“Evening will come, however determined the late afternoon,
Limes and oaks in their last green flush, pearled in September mist.
I have conjured a lily to light these hours, a token of thanks,
Zones and auras of soft glare framing the brilliant globes.
A promise made and kept for life – that was your gift –
Because of which, here is a gift in return, glovewort to some,
Each shining bonnet guarded by stern lance-like leaves.
The country loaded its whole self into your slender hands,
Hands that can rest, now, relieved of a century’s weight.
Evening has come. Rain on the black lochs and dark Munros.
Lily of the Valley, a namesake almost, a favourite flower
Interlaced with your famous bouquets, the restrained
Zeal and forceful grace of its lanterns, each inflorescence
A silent bell disguising a singular voice. A blurred new day
Breaks uncrowned on remote peaks and public parks, and
Everything turns on these luminous petals and deep roots,
This lily that thrives between spire and tree, whose brightness
Holds and glows beyond the life and border of its bloom.”
10 Facts About The Lily of The Valley Flower
- The flower is not a Lily but a member of the Asparagus (Asparagaceae) family.
- This woodland flowering plant blooms in May, with sweetly scented, pendent, bell-shaped white flowers borne in sprays.
- The plant likes the cool Northern Hemisphere temperatures of Asia and Europe.
- Christian legend has it that Lily of the Valley grew from Eve’s tears when she was expelled from the garden of Eden.
- The white bell flowers are popular for bridal bouquets. Queen Victoria, Princess Astrid of Sweden, Princess Grace of Monaco, and Kate Middleton had the flowers feature prominently in theirs.
- In the “language of flowers”, the lily of the valley means the return of happiness.
- It is the national flower of Finland and was that of the former country Yugoslavia.
- It’s a popular flower to use in perfumes and cosmetics. In 1956, Dior created a fragrance simulating the lily of the valley, which was also Christian Dior’s favourite flower. Both Penhaligons and Jo Malone produce fragrances called Lily of the Valley.
- It is also considered the flower of fairies, its tiny bells used as cups from which to drink.
- Despite having several medicinal uses, the plant is highly poisonous. Walter White used it in the show Breaking Bad as a naturally occurring poison.
Lily of The Valley Botanical Illustrations and Drawings
To download the Lily of the Valley print you want, click on the title above. A higher resolution image will open in a new window on your browser. If you click on that image, you will have the option to save that image or print it.
All flower prints are in the Public Domain and free to download, print and use how you wish.
This illustration was by Grace Carter (1874) for a collection by the publishers L. Prang & Co. The style is very similar to those Art Nouveau Flower prints by Verneuil.
Vitus Ausser ,was a German Benedictine monk. In 1479 he completed a handwritten herbal book with 198 depictions of plants with Middle Latin and German plant names that are still important for research today. This watercolour Lily of the Valley illustration is from the book and was painted by Erhard Reewiijk.
This botanical floral illustration is from the book “Album de la flora médico-farmacéutica é industrial, indígena y exótica“,Argenta, Vicente Martin de.
Muguet is the French name for Lily of the Valley, and this botanical illustration is from the book “Atlas de Poche des Plantes des Champs, des Prairies et des Bois” (“Pocket Atlas of Field, Grassland and Woodland Plants”), Siélain, R. 1865.
French name, muguet, sometimes appears in the names of perfumes imitating the flower’s scent.
The scientific name for the flower is Convallaria majalis. The illustration is in the bottom right-hand corner of this plate from the book “British wildflowers” by Thomas Moore in 1867.
The first of two Art Nouveau Lily of The Valley prints in the book “La Plante et ses Applications Ornementales“, by Grasset, Eugène, 1896.
This art nouveau flower pattern looks very much like the floral patterns of William Morris.
A German postcard from the second world war of the flower.
A black and white drawing of a bunch of Lily of The Valley flowers from a 1900 McGregor Brothers catalogue.
“Lily of the Valley. TOO well known to need any special description. Everyone knows their value for outdoor blooming, but all do not realize that their sprays of fairy bells can be obtained in Winter just as easily. We offer strong, imported pips that have been grown especially for Winter blooming.“
Lily of the Valley botanical illustration is shown alongside other Liles even though the flower doesn’t belong to this family. From the German book “Hoffmann-Dennert Botanical Picture Atlas, Based on the Natural Plant System“, 1911.
Watercolor painting of the Lily of the Valley by the French painter Eugène-Jules Eudes.
A botanical illustration by Sydenham Edwards from “The New Botanic Garden, Illustrated with One Hundred and Thirty-Three Plants“, 1912.
Illustration from the book Flora’s Feast by Walter Crane. He was a very influential and prolific children’s book illustrator of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.
Lilies of the Valley painted by James Fuller Queen from the collection at the Library of Congress.
A lovely botanical illustration of the flowers by the famous French floral artist Pierre-Joseph Redoute.
You’ll find a couple of watercolour lily of the valley illustrations in Marshal’s Florilegium.
Don’t forget to check out some of the other beautiful vintage flower botanicals on the site, particularly the stunning wild flower paintings of Harriet Adams, bluebell illustrations and vintage daffodil drawings.
You may also wonderful botanical posters of Adolphe Millot which are full of beautiful flowers.
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