Molly-Mae Brissett-Haigh © 2020

Blessing In Disguise

‘I cannot wonder, that Queens forego, for a while the Compliments of a Nation, to receive the Tribute of the Parterre; or withdraw from all the Glitter of a Court, to be attended with the much more splendid Equipage of a Bed of Flowers…’

-Reflections on a Flower-Garden, in a Letter to a Lady
by Rev. James Hervey (1746)

The language of the poem is epic, minute details are given life in flowery and extravagant hyperbole exploring faith, nature and the darker elements of vanitas and ephemerality.  Much like Hervey, the Dutch Masters of the previous century had incorporated exaggerated and unrealistic qualities, stylised their realities and created entirely new compositions of flower arrangements using the idea of vanitas in contrast.

The collection draws on Herveys text, following various quotes and new strands of research. The idea of 18th century gardens, landscapes and ornamental parterres are a continuing theme, the order and precision of this is reflected in the mathematics of the pleat and manipulation patterns used within. Jean-Jacques Lequeu, an 18th century draughtsman whose immaculate work went unpublished until his death, has been a source of inspiration in terms of themes of planning, and imagined and unfulfilled ornamental design.

Within the series are elements of conceal/reveal, hidden pockets of manipulation and pattern, directly inspired by the old idiom itself.  I have explored pleating by hand, gathering and altering simple patterns to create pieces in which there is contrast and richness of theme. Gradients of colour, scale, texture, technique and mood were to be made evident in my collection, a journey- much like Herveys narrative takes you through the garden. You are meant to be able to describe my samples similarly.