For the past couple of days I have had the pleasure of working at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the childhood home of William Shakespeare’s wife, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon in the village of Shottery. I have been busy putting in the panels and objects for a new exhibition called ‘Say it with Flowers’.
This exhibition, which will run throughout 2012, explores the symbolism of flowers during the Elizabethan period and how Shakespeare used them in his works. It also looks at the Victorians, who developed their own language of flowers as a tool for communicating messages of love. It will feature some wonderful items from our collection throughout its duration, starting with a number of pieces of beautiful Elizabethan embroidery, including this late sixteenth century sweet bag. Sweet bags were used in Elizabethan times to carry around sweet smelling herbs. They could also be used to wrap a gift of money or for holding keepsakes.
To get this exhibition off to a flying start, and to get people near and far thinking about what flowers mean to them, we will be hosting an online forum on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust website for three weeks starting on Monday. We have asked three floral experts to chair discussions about flowers and what they mean to people. It will start with Lynda Owen, NDSF, FSF, who is a well-known professional florist and writer and who has spent her life saying it with flowers, and then we will invite Carlotta Holt and Lesley Parker, the Museum Gardener and the Domestic Life Interpreter and Co-ordinator at the Weald and Downland Museum to take over.
We would like as many people as possible to get involved and join the debate.
And don't forget to check out the new exhibition at Anne Hathaway's Cottage if you happen to be coming to the currently somewhat snowy Midlands. You can leave a message to your loved ones on the brand new sweetheart board, and take a romantic trip to the new lavender maze in the gardens. It is nearly St. Valentine's Day after all!
Visit our visitors page for more information about visiting Anne Hathaway's Cottage.