Lily by Parris, 1835
Lily by Edmund Thomas Parris, from Flowers of Loveliness, 12 Groups of Female Figures Emblematic of Flowers, 1835.
The lily has a long symbolic history. Ancient Greeks believed that lilies sprouted when the breast milk of Hera fell to Earth. In Christianity the lily is representative of the Virgin Mary. White lilies symbolize chastity, purity, and innocence. Peruvian lilies indicate friendship and devotion, while orange lilies send a message of hatred. The poem that accompanied this print, written by Marguerite Gardiner (1789 – 1849), Countess of Blessington, expands upon the innocence of the sleeping baby and reference's the lily's connection to Hera. During the Victorian Era, flower symbolism, or the language of flowers, was a popular means of communication.
Edmund Thomas Parris (1793-1873) was a prolific painter, illustrator, designer, and art restorer. In 1832 he was appointed history painter to Queen Adelaide and he was commissioned to paint the Coronation of Queen Victoria. As a panoramic painter he was involved in a number of large scale projects. He also restored James Thornhill's paintings in the cupola of St. Paul's cathedral in 1852, using a special scaffolding he had invented in the 1820's when the project was first proposed. Parris also developed a special art medium that resembled a fresco when mixed with oil.
James Thomson (1789-1850) was an English engraver who specialized in portraiture. His father sent him to London to become an engraver. After completing his apprenticeships with Mackenzie and Anthony Cardon, respectively, he set up shop for himself. Some of the leading publications of the day hired Thomson to contribute engraved portraits of leading personages. Thomson was highly accomplished in the dot and stipple engraving technique.
- Naomi Bean