The Regency Wardrobe collection - research & making - Wildflowers

African Daisy - "The scientific name..." Osteospermum " derived from the Greek osteon (bone) and Latin spermum (seed). It has been given several common names: African daisy, South African daisy, Cape daisy and blue-eyed daisy..."



Collection: The Regency Wardrobe

Garment: Woman’s paper fan Materials: paper, cartridge paper, quilling paper strips, card, Japanese rice paper Mizuhiki cord, tissue paper, embroidery thread, lacquer, pencil

This piece was created in parallel with the production of a series of wildflower photographs commissioned from photographer Ray Sullivan. On the front of the fan are small drawings of thirteen of the flowers from his final series.

These are: Osteospermum - African Daisy; Taraxacum officinale - Dandelion; Rosa canina - Dog Rose; Calystegia sepium - Wild Morning Glory; California Poppy - Eschscholzia californica; Potentilla reptans - Creeping cinquefoil; Papaver rhoeas - Poppy; Centaurea cyanus - Cornflower; Bellis perennis - Daisy; Calendula officinalis - Marigold; Malva sylvestris - Common Mallow; Taraxacum - Dandelion clock; Coreopsis - Tickseed.

Whilst the names of two of the parts of any fan link to botany, its leaf and sticks, this piece is inspired more specifically by the colourful semi-translucency of tiny, often overlooked, common wildflowers. The fan is made from sheer paper as a means of suggesting a gentle breeze across a wildflower field. Wildflowers was inspired also by the Botanical Fan, a printed fan from 1792, held at The Fan Museum, Greenwich. Printing had begun to make the mass production of fans possible even before the Regency; spreading particular fan designs around like wildflowers. Another Botanical Fan can be found in the V&A collection. It was printed by Sarah Ashton, one of many prominent female publishers of fan leaves in the late 18th century and a member of The Worshipful Company of Fan Makers from 1770. Many Regency era printed fans were decorated with text, partly or wholly, thereby informing and educating the ladies who used them. On the back of Wildflowers is a little about the taxonomy of each flower portrayed on its front, written faintly in pencil as if written during a lesson.


First we photographed wildflowers

Throughout the period of making The Regency Wardrobe collection I have also been working with the impressively talented photographer Ray Sullivan. That is, both in documenting the pieces I've made and by my requesting images of specific subjects to support the pieces, such as when I've asked for a background image for a certain shoe. In the case of Wildflowers I planned to draw wildflowers on the surface of the fan and needed images to work from; that was all I asked for but what he created was a beautiful photographic series, important in its own right.

There are more images in the entire series than are shown here. For the entire series please see: (to follow). The 12 shown in this post are those that I chose to incorporate into The Wildflower Fan. There is more about the rest of the background research behind the fan below, including why I chose to look into the etymology of the names of each flower.

12" sq flower photograph prints will be available for sale please see the shop page of

Dandelion - "...a contraction of dent-de-lioun, from Old French dent de lion, literally "lion's tooth" (from its toothed leaves), a translation of Medieval Latin dens leonis. From Latin dens (genitive dentis) "tooth," from PIE root *dent- "tooth" + leonis, genitive of leo "lion"..." Scientific name Taraxacum.


Dog Rose - "The botanical name is derived from the common names 'dog rose' or similar in several European languages, including classical Latin and ancient (Hellenistic period) Greek. It is sometimes considered that the word 'dog' has a disparaging meaning in this context, indicating 'worthless' as compared with cultivated garden roses. According to The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the English name is a direct translation of the plant's name from classical Latin, rosa canina, itself a translation of the Greek κυνόροδον ('kunórodon'); the name arose out of the belief in classical times that the root was a cure for the bite of a mad dog. It is known to have been used to treat the bite of rabid dogs in the 18th and 19th centuries. The origin of its name may be related to the hooked prickles on the plant that have resemblance to a dogs canines. The Roman naturalist Pliny attributed the name dog rose to a belief that the plant's root could cure the bite of a mad dog. It is not clear if the dogs were rabid. Other old folk names include dogberry and witches' briar..."


Wild Morning Glory - "...scientific name is Calystegia sepium. This comes from the Greek kalu “cup” and stegos “a covering” for the genus name Calystegia and sepium means “of hedges” or “of fences”, because of its climbing tendencies. In addition to wild morning glory, the plant has...common names including old man’s cap, devil’s guts, bride’s gown, white witches’ hat, Rutland beauty, great bindweed and hedge bindweed. It is a member of the Convolvulaceae, the morning glory family..."


California Poppy - Scientifc name Eschscholzia californica."The early Spanish settlers of California saw vast displays of the California Poppy lighting up the coastal hillsides, and it is said they could guide their ships by the sight. They called the California coast the “land of fire,” and the plant the “cup of gold,” (“copa de oro”). It is also known as the Golden Poppy and Cups of Flame. The botanical name Eschscholzia (despite the misspelling) honors German surgeon and naturalist Friedrich Gustav von Eschscholtz, who saw the San Francisco Bay area hills emblazoned with California Poppy while on a Russian expedition ship in the early 19th century..."


Creeping cinquefoil - scientific name Potentilla reptans - " Potentilla, the genus name, means 'powerful, despite its small size' and is a reference to the claimed medicinal value of plants in this genus. The specific epithet reptans means creeping or crawling [like a] reptile."


Poppy - "...late Old English popig, popæg, from West Germanic *papua-, probably from Vulgar Latin *papavum, from Latin papaver "poppy," perhaps a reduplicated form of imitative root *pap- "to swell." Associated with battlefields and war dead at least since Waterloo (1815)..."


Cornflower - "Centaurea cyanus, commonly known as cornflower or bachelor's button..."


"...any flower or plant growing in grain fields"...1570s, from corn (n.1) + flower (n.)..."