How I use Victorian Flower Language to communicate ideas in a Family Crest

I pull ideas for my artworks from everywhere including medieval books of hours and contemporary coats of arms created in Canada, Australia, and the UK. But flowers make me happy, and there is one place that seems to fit perfectly with my hopelessly romantic ideas behind my artworks: Victorian Flower Language.

Floriography is the art of assigning meanings to flowers. We can use flowers like a coded message to describe our sentiments. Plants and flowers have symbolic meanings in the Bible, in Shakespeare's works, and in literature and art today. Communicating through coded flower language was popular in Victorian times: through flowers, lovers could say things that they weren't able to say aloud in the conservative social atmosphere.

A pink carnation symbolizes a woman’s love in Victorian Flower Language.

A pink carnation symbolizes a woman’s love in Victorian Flower Language.

Much of the vintage art that I use as inspiration for my artworks come from publications around the Victorian era, so it feels intuitive to use Victorian ideas about flowers in my work. I also try to lay these ideas over my client's personal feelings about the flowers, their personality, and any ideas that they have. Using ideas from this source and many others, we create a symbol that really works for them and their family.

Some of my favorite examples, taken from the Language of Flowers by Kate Greenaway are:

Pink Carnation : Woman's love.

Mint : Virtue.

Lotus : Eloquence.

Hawthorn : Hope.

Honeysuckle : Generous and devoted affection.

Ivy : Fidelity. Marriage.

Iris : Message. (I've used this one to talk about social media! )

I love the nuance around the meanings for flowers in Victorian times. There are so many different types of love and affection, and there are very specific meanings around the colors of the flower - roses can have so many meanings! What ideas would you communicate in your personal crest? Do you like the idea of using Victorian flower Language to communicate ideas in your personal family crest?

jamie hansen