Sunday, August 15, 2021

Flora Delanica #11: Damask Rose

Flora Delanica, Block #11, Rosa damascena, Damask Rose by Becky Brown.
The Damask Rose is for the Queen.

Queen Charlotte (1744 - 1818)

German princess Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz married the young King George III in 1761. Mary Delany was old enough to be her grandmother, but they formed a bond of friendship in the later years of Mary's life.

The silk, embroidered sewing kit is thought to be the work
of the Queen, made as a gift for Mary Delany in 1781.

A note accompanied it. The Queen hoped Mary would wear "This little Pocket-Book in order to remember at times, when no dearer Person’s are present, a very sincere well wisher, Friend, and affectionate Queen, Charlotte."

Enclosed gold tools included a small scissors. Mary's maid Mrs Rhea described it:
"A beautiful pocket case, the outside satin work’d with gold and ornaments with gold spangles, the inside lined with pink satin and contained a knife, sizsars, pencle, rule, compass, bodkin."
The kit with its enameled clasp is now in the Queen's Royal Collection Trust, perhaps 
 purchased in 1931 by Queen Mary who enjoyed collecting
royal antiques.

Queen Charlotte's gift was an exchange for a present Mary Delany made to the Queen a few weeks earlier, an album of her paper cuts, which is also in the Royal Collection Trust.
Do a search for Delany there.

Silhouette of George III

Block #11  Damask Rose by Nancy Phillips in wool.

Despite her family's reputation supporting Jacobin rival claimants to England's throne, Mary Delany had enjoyed a position on the fringes of the Georgian court through most of her life. In her last decade she moved close to the center of the very domestic life of Charlotte and George III.

A Folded Bud from Nancy

In summer, 1776 George III and Charlotte asked to see Mary's floralegium, the Flora Delanica. The royals, enthusiastic botanists with at that point eleven children to educate, were so pleased with the paper collages they asked their gardeners to keep Mary supplied with exotic specimens that came into the Royal Gardens at Kew.

The King leading the Queen and their six daughters, about 1800
Attributed to William Rought, Royal Trust Collection

The royals took to dropping in on her and her friends. King George III was a little odd (even before his behavior deteriorated to madness). In 1783 he made the eight-mile trip from Windsor to Margaret's home Bulstrode Park.
"The Duchess of Portland and I were sitting in the long gallery, very busy with our different employments, when, without any ceremony, his Majesty walked up to our table, unperceived and unknown till he came quite up to us. You may believe we were at first a little fluttered with his royal presence; but his courteous and affable manner soon made him a welcome guest. He came to inform the Duchess of Portland of the Queen's perfect recovery after her lying-in [the birth of her last child]...after a visit of two hours, the King left us."
It's lovely to have distinguished company but really, he should have sent a card or something warning of the visit. You know how irritating it is to be interrupted in the middle of a project. This vignette also gives us a nice glimpse of how Mary and Margaret spent their mornings, "very busy with our different employments," Margaret perhaps sorting her collection of 20,000 shells; Mary cutting paper flowers.

Silk embroidered picture in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum
of the gardens at Kew. 

Detail of Becky's Damask Rose

When the Duchess of Portland died in 1785, the Queen knew Mary would be lonely. Losing her sight at 85 she was in need of a comfortable home so the Royals offered her a residence on the grounds of Windsor Castle, a "grace and favour" gift, with a substantial annual allowance.

Views of the Interior and Exterior of Windsor Castle, Joseph Nash, 1839 
“‘My dear Mrs Delany will be glad to hear that I am charged by the King to summon her to her new abode at Windsor for Tuesday next, where she will find all the most essential parts of the house ready, excepting some little trifles, which it will be better for Mrs Delany to direct herself in person, or by her little deputy, Miss Port [Mary's grandniece].....That we may long enjoy her amiable company, Amen . 
These are the true sentiments of my dear Mrs Delany's very affectionate Queen."
 Georgina Mary Ann Port (1771-1850), Mary's sister's granddaughter
who assisted Mary in her last years.

11 Rosa cluster Damask, Damask Rose

The rose garden at Windsor Castle's east terrace

The Block
#11 Damask Rose

Applique on the diagonal to an 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.

Rosebuds from Becky's Damask Rose

A Little More Mary Delany

A Stem of Stock, Royal Collection Trust,
The British Museum has the largest collection of Delany
paper cuts; the Royal Collection Trust, the second.
This framed collage has faded.

Further Reading & Viewing

"Crafting Friendship: Mary Delany’s Album and Queen Charlotte’s Pocketbook" by Madeleine Pelling

The Madness of King George is a 1994 movie, a comedy drama about King George III's mental illness that reached a crisis point with a psychotic mania in the fall of 1788. Mary Delany never lived to see this frightening deterioration as she had died earlier in the year.

Read Janice Hadlow's A Royal Experiment (published as Strangest Family in Great Britain.) The Georgian years, Mary Granville Delany's 18th century, were indeed strange and this book tells us much about Queen Charlotte and her family and a bit about Mary Delany, whose letters are a source for information about the unhappy royals.
Preview here:


  1. Such beautiful blocks with wool applique... hand dyed cloth really makes a difference.

  2. I think these are really stunning. I read your applique QAL blogs sporadically but I'm glad I caught this one.I am currently reading a novel about George III and his siblings, and Mary Delaney is mentioned in the book. Small world.