Thursday, October 15, 2020

Flora Delanica #1 French Rose

Flora Delanica #1: French Rose, Rosa Gallica by Becky Brown

We begin our Block-of-the Month Flora Delanica with a red rose, the traditional symbol of England (French Rose?)  Following Mary Granville Delany's story we'll learn a good deal about 18th-century English history. She was a child of her century, born in the year 1700 and dying in 1788. Below Mary's paper collage of the Rosa Gallica combined with a portrait of Queen Anne.

Queen Anne, a Stuart:
 "It can never be good for England to have a Papist on the throne."

Mary's tale begins in the days of England's Queen Anne (1665-1714), the last Stuart ruler. Anne came to the throne in 1702 when Mary was two years old. Anne's inheriting the crown from sister Queen Mary was a boon for Mary Granville's family who were Tory aristocrats and politicians. To simplify it we may say that the Tories were conservatives with their fates linked to the Catholic Stuarts, also called Jacobites. (Wait a minute! It's not simple.)

Suffice it to say that the men in the elite Granville family tied their ambitions to Queen Anne's family and in our Mary's youth they did quite well. Her aunts had been royal ladies-in-waiting, one to Anne and one to Anne's sister Queen Mary. The child Mary Granville was of proper birth and proper politics to look forward to an exalted position as a Lady of the Bedchamber or something similar for the new queen and that is how her young life was shaped, trained in the graces thought to create a lady who was an adornment to a royal court.

Autobiography, Mary Delany.

Queen Anne's heir, Duke of Gloucester
with a royal dog. William died the year Mary
Granville was born.

We are horrified to learn that by the time Queen Anne took the throne at the age of 37 she had suffered through 17 (or 18) pregnancies with only 5 live births. Only one son William survived early childhood but he died at the age of 11, perhaps from hydrocephaly, fluid in the brain, which could have been a symptom of many other conditions. Surely there was something terribly wrong in the royal genetics.

Anne herself was in miserable health, dying rather abruptly in 1714 at the age of 49. With no direct heirs and Catholics and Protestants vying for power, the Granvilles bet on the Jacobites, allying with the son of the last Catholic King James II. This James known as "The Old Pretender" ran a parallel court from France and Rome. Betting on him was a poor choice in the long run and the short.

Mary's Uncle George Granville, Lord Lansdowne 
never gave up on the Old Pretender even after Young Pretender Bonnie
 Prince Charlie's defeat in a 1746 British invasion.

The Granvilles were out when the Whigs and Protestants took over. England had few options for a royal candidate to replace Anne but there was a Protestant relative in Hanover, one of the small German states. Although dozens of Catholic relatives had better claims, King George I trundled up his court, his mistresses (not his wife), their ladies-in-waiting, his musician (Handel) and some of his Protestant children (the Hanovers did not get along with their children) and sailed for England, where his heirs rule today.

England's George I did not speak English.

Denniele Bohannon's French Rose

 At the age of 14 Mary Granville's future, which had appeared so rosy, was now rather bleak.

The Block 
French Rose

Applique on the diagonal to a square cut 10-1/2" or on the vertical center of a rectangle cut  9-1/2" x 12-1/2".

One Way to Print the Pattern:
Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11".
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". Note the inch square block for reference.
Adjust the printed page size if necessary.

Mary Delany's Rosa Gallica.
Her initials cut from paper are in the lower right.
Most of these photos are from the British Museum's site.
They have 970 of Mary's botanical pictures. 
See their beautiful photo here:

The Flora Delanica patterns are perfect for wool applique
as you can tell from Nancy Phillips's block.

A Little More Mary Delany

Each month we'll look at an extra collage from Mary's Flora Delanica. The British Museum has the best collection. You may want to draw your own designs based on hers.

Dianthus caryophyllus, a variety of Jersey Pink (We call them carnations.)

Extra Reading & Viewing:

Our most recent impression of poor Queen Anne is the 2018 movie The Favourite, with Olivia Colman playing the Queen.

Clarissa Campbell Orr published a biography
of Mary Delany last year.

Here's a preview:

Social Media

Our Facebook Group: MaryDelanyQuilt

We have our own Instagram page

French Rose, Rosa Gallica by Barbara Brackman
I'm using various dark patterned backgrounds and orienting the florals on point.
I view this project as a contemporary Broderie Perse project so am using
fabrics that echo the shading and lines in Mary's collage.


  1. That was such interesting history to go with the beautiful rose. Thank you!

  2. Barbara, thank you so much for introducing us to Mary Delany!

    I've followed the link to the collection at the British Museum and been absolutely awestruck by her art.

  3. Thank you! Such great details, and views into the story around Mary Delaney. I love when our work has background!