The modern art of flower arrangement was virtually invented by Constance Spry. Before her time, women had of course 'done the flowers', some of them well, others as a chore, but sometimes it was left to the servants. Constance Spry, by her natural flair and her remarkable feeling for the nature of the growing plant, discovered how to make the largely imaginary compositions of the great Dutch and Flemish flower painters work.
She was in her forties when friends persuaded her to use this talent professionally, and open her first tiny tiny London shop. Before that, she had followed in the footsteps of her father, a self-taught man a born-natural educator. His daughter in her turn became a health lecturer, and eventually the much-loved Headmistress of a day continuation school in the East End of London.
Her success as a florist was rapid and brilliant, and is intimately bound up with the social history of the inter-war years. She and the gifted band of young men and girls whom she trained 'did' the flowers for many of the decade's great functions, and made their influence felt on interior decoration almost as much as on flower arrangement. But though her name and fame were made among the rich and elegant, she never abandoned her passionate companionship of ordinary people, and of their need to have more beauty brought into their lives.
Elizabeth Coxhead presents the portrait of a woman who left her mark on an age; who was full of contradictions, wayward, nervous, highly-strung as artists so often are; but whose heart was great and generous, and who opened up new possibilities of happiness and self-expression for women all over the world.
This is a used book in good, readable condition with discolouration to the page ends as is usual for a book of its age. Photograph #3 shows that a section of the first blank page of the book has been cut out.