This fifth group of Connoisseur florals includes a pair that is most appropriate for the current winter holiday season; all but one of the following were limited editions.
Autumn Gold, issued in 1984, was an edition of only 10 priced at $3500. This is low but wide study at 6.5″ high x 15″ wide. (16.5cm x 38cm)
The Joyful News iris is from 1986, an edition of 25 at $3500 and measuring 13″ h x 19″ w. (33cm x 48cm) This represents an actual tall bearded iris hybrid that was introduced to the trade in 1984.
Phalaenopsis have always been my favorite kind of orchid, and Connoisseur’s Phalaenopsis Orchid Group is a particularly appealing one, with its pink-blushed white blooms. This limited edition of 10 in 1985 sold for $1050 initially. It is 6″ high and 10″ wide (15.25cm x 25.5cm). The next two studies are also orchids.
The White Cymbidiums group also appeared in 1985, as an edition of 100 at $1100. Dimensions are 8″ h x 13″ w.(20.25cm x 33cm) The open edition Pink Cymbidiums, showing two blooms, was also issued the same year; it can be seen in Flowers Part Four.
This is the limited edition group of Tropical Dawn Orchid. Although the exact issue year is unknown, the edition of 100 was priced at $2100 in the mid-1980s and was $2495 by 1990. It is taller than the others at 10.5″ (26.5cm) high. It also had an accompanying open edition single-bloom version which is shown in Confusing Connoisseur Cattleyas.
This lovely 8.5″ high (21.5cm) basket is Midsummer Dream, an edition of 50 from 1986 and priced at $3250.
Turning from romantic to dramatic, the 18″ (45.75cm) high Bird of Paradise was a 1988 edition of 50 at $3995 which rose to $4500 a few years later. The striking African native Strelitzia reginae was discovered in 1773 and named in honor of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III.
Camellias were a favorite floral subject at Connoisseur; this is El Dorado issued in 1983 as an edition of 50. Issue price was $750 and it measure 5.25″ h x 12″ w. (13.25cm x 30.5cm) This hybrid is also known as Camellia ‘Hazel Asper’ in honor of the wife of the original 1967 hybridizer.
This camellia basket study is Blair House, an edition of 25 which sold for $3500 on a mid-1980s price list. The actual hybrid depicted is Camellia ‘Ann Blair Brown’ and it also has a variegated-leaf form. The butterfly is known as the Camberwell Beauty in the UK and as the Mourning Cloak in America. Ann Blair Brown was Executive Director of the American Camellia Society as well as the editor of several editions of the American Camellia Yearbook during the 1980s.
The Swan Lake Camellia by Diane Lewis was an issue of 100 in 1988, priced at $1250 which rose to $1450 shortly thereafter. Dimensions are 7.25″ high x 12″ wide (19cm x 45.25 cm).
Blue Velvet, a Diane Lewis study in 1990, was an edition of 50 at $4800. It is 14.5″ high x 9″ wide (37cm x 23cm) – unfortunately this example was noted as having “several broken off pieces.” The rose here is cited as ‘Highness’ and may refer to the hybrid ‘Royal Highness’ which is a very fragrant lovely pink from 1962. A similar combination of roses and delphiniums is seen in Rhapsody in Blue in Flowers Part Four.
Another Diane Lewis study is Pink Oasis. Its issue year is not known but it was limited to 50 and is 11.5″ h x 14″ w. (29.25cm x 35.5cm) It is very similar to Pleasure Island which is shown in Flowers Part Four, using the same base and same blue container. However, that study contains sprays of blue iris instead, providing very different effect. It would be lovely to have both displayed together! The Pink Oasis above was cited as having one broken-off catkin, shown here in its amazing detail.
Sadly, this lovely azalea study named Strawberry Ice is also damaged, having three petals broken off. Designed by Diane Lewis, it was issued in 1987 as an edition of 100 and is 9″ h x 10″ w. (23cm x 25.5cm) The actual hybrid is a Knaphill-Exbury deciduous azalea that can reach 8 feet in height.
Shifting from spring to summer, Montbretia Sprays incorporates gazania blooms and lotus flower pods in the composition. Other than the height of 11″ (28 cm) and an approximate dating of the mid-1980s I currently have no other information about this study. The genus Montbretia is also known as Crocosmia; the flowers come in shades of yellow, orange, and a true red aptly named ‘Lucifer.”
This study is named American Glory, an edition of 50 standing 13″ (33cm) high, designed by Diane Lewis. This piece is connected to, but was not officially part of, the American Wildflower Collection series done in the late 1980s. That series did have a limited edition of the same issue size and dimension, called The Pride of Texas, and this study can be considered as a ‘national’ (rather than a ‘regional’ based) companion piece.
It seems fitting to end a late-December pictorial overview with Connoisseur’s two poinsettia studies: a limited group study and an open edition single bloom.
The Poinsettia group, accented with a holiday bow element, debuted in 1984 as a limited edition of 50 at $1300. Although the red version shown was the most popular, it was also produced in pink and in white albeit in much smaller quantities. Dimensions are 8.75″ h x 7.5″ w x 9″ d. (22.25cm x 19cm x 23cm)
The single Poinsettia was an open edition in either 1987 or 1988 (exact issue year uncertain.) It is between 4″ and 5″ (10-12.5cm) high and also was made in three colors although, like the limited edition version, most were red.
A ‘mystery piece with an intriguing name was Midnight Sun which appears on a mid-1980s text-only price list under the Florals heading as an edition of 25 for $1850. No further particulars, unfortunately, but I would certainly like to unearth a photo someday!
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