This fourth instalment of the Connoisseur flowers overview includes the floral study that was Diane Lewis’ personal favorite. All of the following twenty-two sculptures, with one known exception as noted, were designed by her. Four of them are orchids.
Pink and Free is a study of pink phalaenopsis orchids from 1988. This was an issue of 100, and is 11″ (28 cm) high. Unfortunately the deep blue butterfly (perhaps Cupido minimus, known as the Small Blue) is not seen to best advantage in this photo.
Another orchid, the Pink Cymbidium from 1985 was an open (non-limited) edition issued at $325. It is 5″ (12.7 cm) high.
Pink Debutante is another graceful orchid study of a spray of cattleyas. It is 10.75” (27 cm) high and was issued in 1984 as an edition of 50, at $975. It is probable that there was a single-bloom open edition counterpart as well.
This very interesting study of an arrangement of blue iris is named Pleasure Island and certainly does evoke the feeling of the tropics! It is 20″ (51 cm) high and was a limited edition of 50; issue year unknown. This is another case where I wish there was more than a single image available.
Another small non-limited issue is Primroses which is 3.75″ (9.5 cm) high. Part of the English Countryside series, it appeared in 1980 for $200. (the second example is missing a bud)
This spray of Purple Moon cattleya orchids was a limited edition of 100 in 1986 and is 12” (about 30.5 cm) high. The issue price was $1350. The single-bloom open edition counterpart is shown in Confusing Connoisseur Cattleyas.
Rhapsody in Blue is an absolutely gorgeous study of pristine white roses and Wedgwood-blue delphinium! It is 15″ (38 cm) high. This was created exclusively for sale by Brielle Galleries in New Jersey in 1980, as an edition of 25 priced at $2850. Designed by Diane Lewis.
Summer Harvest, from 1985, combines brilliant red poppies, sparkling white daisies, and burgeoning wheat. A limited edition of 50 at $1325, it is 11.5” (29.25 cm) high. A similar design is the later still life ‘Harvest Basket’ shown in Diane Lewis Chance Botanical Plaques; I’d love to see these two displayed together!
This basket of camellias is appropriately named Victorian Splendour. Camellias became wildly popular during that era after being introduced from the Orient; no self-respecting young lady would want to attend a wintertime ball without being ‘decorated’ by at least one! In the Victorian ‘Language of Flowers’ a pink camellia meant “I long for you”; a red camellia said “You are the flame in my heart”, and a white one conveyed the sentiment “You are adorable.” This sculpture is 8″ h x 13″ w, (about 20 cm x 33 cm) and was a limited issue of 25.
The following two sculptures are alternate colorways of the same dogwood study.
White Dogwood was a 1984 limited edition of 25; it is 10” (15.5 cm) high. It was also produced in pink although the example in the photo does not have a name on the backstamp. Both of these had a corresponding open edition study which is shown in Flowers, Part Six.
There was also a ‘White Dogwood’ created for Neiman Marcus but because neither of the examples shown above bear that special backstamp identification, that one may have been an entirely different piece.
This absolutely delightful little sculpture is called Hop and Hip. A non-limited edition, it is part of a series called the European Wildflower Collection designed by Aileen Burton; additional pieces are shown in Flowers, Part Six. It is 3″ (7.6 cm) high and was priced at $275.
Violets was part of the early-1980s English Countryside Collection by Diane Lewis and is approximately 5” (12.5 cm) high. The contrast of the delicate, dainty violets against the rock niche is particularly striking.
This is the lovely Wind Song bearded iris, which measures 14” h x 10” w (35.5 cm x 25.5 cm). It is a limited edition of 50, and its USA retail in 1990 was $2995. I am endeavoring to discover whether there were two colorways of this study. The first photograph is taken from an actual Connoisseur of Malvern brochure; the second photo was kindly shared with the Archive by a collector. One appears to be a bitone (blue standards/mauve falls) while the other is clearly blue. The Iris Database is of little help, because its entry for ‘Wind Song’ doesn’t include a photo.
If I had to choose a personal “top ten” floral studies by Connoisseur, I know that Winter’s Tale would definitely be among them. Only 6″ (15.25 cm) high, the combination of white poinsettia, white hellebores, and holly really defines the season for me. The fact that it also has the same title as one of my favorite Moody Blues songs is merely an extra bonus. 😉
Speaking of personal favorites, here is Yakusimanum which was Diane Lewis’ own most favorite design. This was a limited edition of 25 in 1982, priced at $1950, and is 15″ (38 cm) high. Rhododendron yakushimanum was discovered on Yakushima Island off the coast of Japan and has been in the nursery trade ever since the 1930s. The underside of the leaves has a soft woolly covering known as ‘indumentum’ which is a characteristic of this species. The taxonomists have recently been at their games again and have now renamed it to Rhododendron degronianum subsp. yakushimanum (good grief!!) but by any name it is an amazing plant whose offspring have been many times awarded worldwide. The well known hybrid cultivar ‘Percy Wiseman’ was named after the manager at Waterer’s Nursery (UK) who made the first “yak” crosses during the 1950s. (Although the correct spelling of the species name is yakushimanum, the Connoisseur study’s backstamp omitted the h and thus it appears as Yakusimanum.)
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