The Language of Flowers as Metamorphosis from Medieval Art to Nineteenth Century Photography

Ashleigh Black* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution


The University of Aberdeen’s Special Collections holds around 38 000 glass plate negatives taken by George Washington Wilson and his photographic firm from 1850 until 1908. The photographic collection comprises portraits, landscape and cityscape images taken across the world, including the UK, Australia, South Africa, and the Mediterranean. Wilson first entered photography as a portrait artist and eventually came to be renowned for his cityscapes and landscape work. This paper considers the symbolic role of flowers using his portrait photographs as a case study; with special reference to The Language of Flowers or Floral Emblems of Thoughts, Feelings and Sentiments by Robert Tyas published in 1869. Tyas’ book has been chosen for this paper as it was relevant for the flowers depicted in Wilson’s photographs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Metamorphosis
Subtitle of host publicationTransformations across Time, Culture & Identity Conference
EditorsRoss Cameron, Wu Yunong, Azalea Kushairi, Liudmila Tomanek
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Glasgow College of Arts
Number of pages14
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'The Language of Flowers as Metamorphosis from Medieval Art to Nineteenth Century Photography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this