Victorian Era, or that period in Great Britain when Queen Victoria was ruling, is known as the Golden era. It saw so much of wealth inflow and other imperial, colonial, and industrial developments that no era can compete with it when it comes to prosperity. But this is just one aspect of this era.
Victorian era was as infamous for its moral, social, and religious restrictions, as it was famous for its developments. Victorian ladies, were not only rich and well-equipped, but also entrapped in golden cage. Domestic morality expected ladies of Victorian era to be as modest as possible. Please hold on to this thought while I move on to discuss the floral designs in Victorian era.
Floral designs and arrangements were taken as a form of art even before Victorian era in Great Britain. Renaissance, Rococo, Baroque, are some of the preceding eras that laid the foundation of lavish and extravagant floral arrangements in Victorian era.
Coming back to Victorian ladies, it was this extravagant but restricted lifestyle that triggered the influence of the art of flower arrangement and design to inspire the Victorian life.
On one hand, the aristocrats and nobles used to embrace this art and use rich and lavish floral designs, while the ladies of these aristocratic class used to use these flowers as a symbolic language to express those emotions of theirs that they were not allowed to express publicly.
No wonder Victorian literature is full of the metaphors of flowers, especially verses. Different flowers used to depict different meanings and there also came a written account of flowers and their general meanings, known as Floriography. Be it Wordsworth’s poems, Jane Austen’s novels, Oscar Wilde’s homosexual rendezvous, or Gabriel Christina Rossetti’s paintings, flowers were used in literature to convey passions just like they did in reality.
They catalogued the meaning of each bloom: Narcissus, unrequited love. Purple Violet, daydreaming. Blue Canterbury Bell, fidelity. Aspen Tree, sorrow. The language of floriography was prominent in the arts.