The Garden Museum’s celebration of the doyenne of flowers, the 20th century’s most influential floral decorator, Constance Spry. Guest curated by floral designer and writer Shane Connolly, this exhibition explored Spry’s exceptional life, achievements and legacy.
Spry opened her first flower shop, ‘Flower Decoration’, in London in 1929. Her revolutionary approach to floristry garnered widespread interest in high society, while also democratising the form. Unconfined by traditional floristry training, Spry married classic flowers of choice with ‘unusual’ and uncelebrated plant material like kale and pussy willow, unconventional offerings from hedgerows and scoured Covent Garden Flower Market for statement flowers. For more than three decades, she provided inspirational flowers for society weddings, fashion shows, the wedding of Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson, and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Exploring Spry’s fascinating and multi-faceted career, exhibition highlights included: 100 never before seen photographs, documents and personal items from her archive at the RHS Lindley Library, the largest collection of Spry’s Fulham pottery vases to have ever been assembled, floral paintings by Gluck (the artist Hannah Gluckstein, with whom Spry had a relationship) which were owned by Spry in her lifetime, a rare surviving example of wax flower work, glass tables which Spry used to exhibit her iconic flower displays, as well as signed copies of all thirteen books Spry authored.
Soane were thrilled to have collaborated with the Garden Museum to design a neat, elegant rattan table especially for this glorious exhibition. Made by skilled weavers in Soane’s Leicestershire rattan workshop, the painted white rattan table was inspired by a wicker design in Constance Spry’s New York showroom.
From second gallery left to right: Constance Spry and the Fashion for Flowers exhibition poster; A bespoke rattan table by Soane Britain, commissioned for the exhibition; Paper camellia by Sourabh Gupta; Constance Spry Fulham Pottery vases
All photographs by Graham Lacdao