Chelsea in Bloom

One of the highlights of the Chelsea year is the Chelsea Flower Show.  Chelsea in Bloom really brings an already vibrant area to life.  Here is Zveszdana from Chelsea library talking about her love of the show and sharing some of her wonderful collection of photographs from previous years. Continue reading “Chelsea in Bloom”

Fashion and Flowers in Chelsea

Gillian Nunns, Reference Librarian writes…

We noticed some new trends on the King’s Road over the past week… garden inspired shop-fronts, beautiful floral dresses and new visitors to Chelsea Library, who are exploring the area whilst visiting the Chelsea Flower Show.  Surrounded by so much floral beauty and enthusiasm, we’ve also caught the flower fever and been inspired to explore fashion and flowers in our Costume & Fashion collection.

The Chelsea Flower show in the 1920s:

From The Chelsea Flower Show by Hesten Marsden-Smedley
Taken from The Chelsea Flower Show by Hesten Marsden-Smedley

And we love this image of the flower show in 1918, showing off the fashions of the time:

From The Chelsea Flower Show by Hesten Marsden-Smedley
From The Chelsea Flower Show by Hesten Marsden-Smedley

In our Vogue magazine archives we found lots of garden-inspired illustrations, fashions and adverts from the May and June issues in the 1920s.  In May 1926, as well as checking out the flower show, here is what you mind find shopping along Sloane Street:

Vogue, May 1926 edition
Vogue, May 1926 edition

And from the same month, an illustration of a fashionable garden of the time:

Vogue, May 1926 Ed.
Vogue, May 1926 ed.

And when it rains…

Stormproof... taken from Vogue May 1926 Ed.
Stormproof… taken from Vogue May 1926 ed.

We liked this arty picture from Vogue May 1924, with the shadows of trees in the background, entitled Flowered crepe is a medium of the mode:

Taken from the Vogue archives, 1924
Taken from the Vogue archives, 1924

In June 1929, a model poses in a rock garden:

The description for this beautiful dress also sounds like a delicious dessert.
The description for this beautiful dress also sounds like a rather delicious dessert.

In fact, everywhere we looked in the May and June Vogue issues we found flowers and gardens.  Here is Twiggy in May 1967 and on her dress is a “Pyramid Myriad of Flowers, triangles of tiny multi colored ones….”:

Twiggy from the May 1967 edition of Vogue
Twiggy from the May 1967 edition of Vogue

In the 60s Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell had a chic Chelsea boutique Quorum, and we found this great floral design of theirs from 1968:

From Fifty Fashion Looks that Changed the 1960s
From Fifty Fashion Looks that Changed the 1960s

Fast forward again to May 1988, a budding affair:

A fashion shoot from May 1988
A fashion shoot from May 1988

 

 

We hope you enjoyed  taking a quick browse through the flowers and fashions at Chelsea Library.  There is lots more to discover in the library and online, in the Berg Fashion Library Online, which you can access for free with your library card.

It’s Bean a hundred years!

Colin Clare, Reference Librarian, writes:

As the Chelsea Flower show has just passed by for another year, this seems to be an opportune time to highlight a garden publication that has been around for exactly one hundred years. It was way back in 1914 that  William Jackson Bean wrote and published  his first two-volume edition of the reference work Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles  which was immediately recognized as a masterpiece of authoritative writing and which has remained  a standard reference work ever since.

 

Trees & Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles
Trees & Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

 

William Jackson Bean was born in Yorkshire in1863 and started work as a student gardener at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. He continued working there for 45 years, becoming curator from 1922 to 1929.  He became a leading expert on woody plants in cultivation and published several other articles and books as well as this major work which was the first book to arrange trees and shrubs in alphabetical order as opposed to botanical classification as all its predecessors had done.

Concise descriptions and line drawings
Concise descriptions and line drawings

 

In addition, he wrote in a presentation style that satisfied both amateur gardeners and professional botanists alike.  A third volume was published in 1933 and five further editions were published in Bean’s lifetime.

Our copies available on the shelf
Our copies available on the shelf

After his death in 1947, further editions appeared and although the eighth and last edition is no longer in print, copies of it can still be viewed at Chelsea and Kensington Reference libraries. You are welcome to come in and browse- please ask a member of staff for help.