Book of the week: ‘By Any Other Name: A Cultural History of the Rose’ by Simon Morley

‘By Any Other Name: A Cultural History of the Rose’ by British artist and art historian Simon Morley is a fascinating book about the “Queen of flowers” that we all know has lots of meanings. I saw it advertised in the latest Kew Gardens’ members’ magazine and thought it would make a great Christmas present to someone who has a sensitive soul and loves flowers or gardening. 

Morley is the author of several books on modern and contemporary art and is a keen rose gardener. 

Over the centuries it has come to represent love and sensuality, deceit, death and the mystical unknown. 

Morley examines the rose’s presence in poetry (most famously, the works of Shakespeare), figurative art, music, perfumes and medicines. 

Morley looks at the cultural significance of roses throughout history, their symbolism, their origins and what how we use roses in gardens today says about us as a society.

After finishing reading this book, you’ll never look at a rose the same way again. 

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