Literary Calligraphy by Susan Loy

The Flowers of the Month

Birth Flowers

William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, James Whitcomb Riley, and Henry David Thoreau

Print Image: 9-1/2” x 9-1/2”
Paper Size: 11" x 11-1/2”
Frame Size: 16" x 16

Print includes monthly flower illustrations and seasonal poems in a vibrant color wheel that reflects the change of seasons. Susan Loy actually painted 23 flowers that are pictured on the print because most months (except November's Chrysanthemum) have more than a single birth flower. Birth flowers are a very old tradition. The oldest known flower calendars were created by the Chinese and present flowers that bloom in Asia. Western calendars depicting The Flowers of the Month began to appear in the 18th century and were formalized in England and North America during the 19th century. Susan Loy chose the flowers for each month, based on these North American and Old English flower calendars.

In the corners of the painting, she hand-lettered quotations by William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, James Whitcomb Riley, and Henry David Thoreau. Each quotation describes a season; for example Dickinson speaks of the "Azure depth" of a summer afternoon while Riley mentions the frost on the "punkin'" in the autumn quotation.

January: Carnation or Snowdrop
February: Violet or Primrose
March: Daffodil or Violet
April: Sweet Pea or Daisy
May: Lily of the Valley or Hawthorn
June: Rose or Honeysuckle
July: Larkspur or Water Lily
August: Gladiola or Poppy
September: Aster or Morning Glory
October: Calendula or Hop
November: Chrysanthemum
December: Paperwhite Narcissus or Holly

Susan Loy hand-lettered a poem for each of the four seasons:

Between the acres of the rye, with a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino, these pretty country folk would lie, in spring time…
This carol they began that hour, with a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino, how that a life was but a flower.
William Shakespeare, As You Like It

A something in a summert’s day as slow her flambeau burn away, which solemnizes me.
A something in a summer’s noon, an Azure depth, a wordless tune, transcending ecstasy.
And still within a summer’s night a something so transporting bright, I clap my hands to see.
Emily Dickinson

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
and you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkeycock…
They’s something kind o’ harty-like about the atmusfere,
when the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here.
James Whitcomb Riley

That grand old poem called Winter is round again…. It was summer, and now again it is winter.
Nature loves this rhyme so well that she never tires of repeating it. So sweet and wholesome is the winter, so simple…
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, Sunday, December 7, 1856

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Read the COMPLETE TEXT for "Birth Flowers"

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