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Flora Symbolica: Flowers in Pre-Raphaelite Art

by Debra N. Mancoff

Buy the book: Debra N. Mancoff. Flora Symbolica: Flowers in Pre-Raphaelite Art

Release Date: May, 2003

Edition: Hardcover

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Buy the book: Debra N. Mancoff. Flora Symbolica: Flowers in Pre-Raphaelite Art


A throw-away book

I have several books by Mancoff and get the feeling she just went through the motions on this one. Ostensibly about floral symbolism, the book actually contains very little on the subject. It's more of a collection of pretty pictures accompanied by some juicy gossip about the affairs of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne Jones, etc. Often a painting will clearly show many flowers--for example Charles Allston Collins' "Convent Thoughts" has eleven--but the desciption will cover only a few. In other cases, the entry will be 95% about the personal life of the artist with 1 or 2 sentences about flowers tacked on at the end. Mancoff does assemble some paintings that are seldom reproduced, and it is fun to look at more popular paintings with new eyes. I would have liked it better, however, if she had explored how this symbolic language developed, how familiar people were with this language, and had included even more pop culture references to floral symbolism than she does.

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