Posts Tagged ‘roses’

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Garden in Heraldry: “Pluck a red rose from off this thorn…”

stone-doorway-detail Armorial roundel Ivory roundel

Above, from left to right: Detail from an early sixteenth-century doorway (48.28); Armorial Roundel, ca. 1500 (1980.214.4); Roundel with Scenes of the Attack on the Castle of Love, ca. 1320–40 (2003.131.1).

Plantagenet. Since you are tongue-tied and so loath to speak,
In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts:
Let him that is a true-born gentleman
And stands upon the honour of his birth,
If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.

Somerset. Let him that is no coward nor no flatterer,
But dare maintain the party of the truth,
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.

—Henry VI, Part 1, Act 2, Scene 4

After the fleur-de-lis, the rose is probably the second most common floral charge to appear on heraldic shields. That’s quite understandable, since the rose’s emblematic associations ranged from the Virgin Mary to the Five Wounds of Christ to romantic love. In the military context of knights and noble families, the rose also suggested the fierce and often impenetrable thicket of prickled branches in which it grows. The white roses strewn around the fearsomely armed lion rampant that occurs on the shield of Finland might have raised just such an association in the minds of beholders. Alternately, roses might also have been chosen as a play on a name—the arms of the German town of Rosenberg in Baden-Württemberg, for example, or the Baltic baronial family von Rosen.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Merry Winter Solstice to You All

Cloisters Candelabra

Above: The iron candelabra placed throughout the galleries of The Cloisters are decked with boxwood, ivy, apples, roses, and holly from mid-December until early January. This year’s decorations will be on view through Sunday, January 2. Photograph by Andrew Winslow.

WISHING YOU PEACE, PLENTY, AND EVERY GOOD THING IN THE COMING YEAR. 

—Deirdre Larkin and the staff of The Cloisters Museum & Gardens

Friday, February 6, 2009

February Fill-Dyke

February page from the Belles Heures February Activity: Warming Before the Fire The Zodiacal Sign of Pisces

Above, from left to right: Calendar page for February, from The Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, 1405–1408/1409. Pol, Jean, and Herman de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France, by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1); detail of the activity for the month; detail of the zodiacal symbol Pisces. See the Collection Database to learn more about this work of art.

February fill dike
Be it black or be it white;
But if it be white,
The better to like.

—From John Ray’s A Collection of English Proverbs, 1670

Rain or snow, the month of February was associated with precipitation and uncertain weather, and abounded in weather lore. Fine weather on the medieval feast of Candlemas (February 2) signified a long winter, and rainy weather an early spring, long before the American institution of Groundhog Day. The groundhog who may or may not see his shadow had European antecedents in the German badger and the Swiss wolf. Read more »