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The Sunflower in Art and Culture

Lecture on Monday 12th April 2021 at 1:45PM

Lecturer: Twigs Way
Venue: Larruperz Centre

A fascinating talk exploring the many depictions, myths and cultural roles of that most glorious of plants, the sunflower. Tracing its origins from South America, its association with the god Apollo, to its role in art as personification of kings starring in depictions by artists from van Dyck to van Gogh. Worshipped by the aesthetes and arts and crafts movements it found favour in the gardens of the Impressionists, and led a touch of magic to the humbler cottage garden. From Clytie to Klimt this is the extraordinary tale of an extraordinary plant.

Twigs Way is a vibrant and successful writer, researcher and speaker, who is fascinated by the social and cultural aspects of garden history including landscapes in art and literature. She combines this with a specialist consultancy in management of historic landscapes.

She also gives talks to a range of other societies and groups on the history of specific gardens, and wide ranging historic themes such as specific flowers in Art and Culture (including the Sunflower, the Lily and the Chrysanthemum), Edwardian Gardeners, and the history of Women in the Garden.

Twigs’ most recent publication is the history of the Carnation in Art and Culture (Reaktion Books) and she is currently writing the Chrysanthemum in Art and Culture. In partnership with the Garden Museum (London) she has published A Nation of Gardeners and also works on the wartime garden (Digging for Victory) and a history of women in the garden (Virgins, Weeders and Queens). Twigs’ style is accessible and entertaining as well as enlightening.

Media appearances include presenter on Lost Gardens for Channel 4, Guest appearances on 1950s House and Garden, Guy Martin Makes Britain, and Radio 4 Series on Women gardeners. She also writes commissioned articles for publications. Twigs was recently featured in Gardens Illustrated (October 2016).

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