Sarah McCartney: Celebrating Shakespeare’s flowers in aromatic type

Shakespeare and his love of flowers are eternally entwined in our imaginations, and now we’ve hot-off-the-press information of a specifically commissioned perfume impressed by the bard…


Although a lot of what we all know of Shakespeare’s life is supposition, and hotly debated by historians to at the present time; what we will surmise is that he beloved flowers – together with references to over fifty sorts of them inside his writing, utilizing them to spotlight the emotional tone of scenes, mirror character’s ideas or ship messages his audiences would have readily understood within the ‘language of flowers.’ Artists, writers and musicians nonetheless discover a lot inspiration in these floral allusions, and little surprise, given the veritable bouquet of artistic suggestion Shakespeare proffers.


Botanical Shakespeare: An Illustrated Compendium, £20 (Royal Shakespeare Firm store)


Lots of the flowers Shakespeare alluded to in his work have led to well-known phrases we nonetheless use, similar to ‘a rose by every other title’ and ‘gilding the lily’, but it surely’s price declaring, pretty as they’re, these are slight misquotations. In Romeo and Juliet, the rose is used to there to garland Juliet’s criticism about their households refusing to allow them to marry due to an ongoing feud, saying:

What’s in a reputation? that which we name a rose

By every other title would odor as candy. [Act II Scene II Line 43]

As for the lily, that pops up when painted, in King John, with a courtier commenting

To gild refined gold, to color the lily

To throw fragrance on the violet …

Is wasteful and ridiculous extra [Act 4 Scene 4 Line 11]

I respectfully arch an eyebrow on the barely scathing point out of fragrance, and although after all it’s a literary approach of claiming that pure magnificence needn’t be embellished, would level out that many high-quality fragrances have been created to evoke the violet (it being one of many flowers unable to have its scent naturally extracted); however shall forgive the courtier (and, subsequently, Shakespeare) for not being aware of such scent chemistry information.


Shakespeare’s Flowers cards, £3.99 for five x A5 pack, DaysEyeCards

In any case, April twenty third is Nationwide Shakespeare Day, the anniversary of the bard’s loss of life, and although the precise day of his start is unknown, additionally the day his birthday is historically celebrated (his baptism being recorded as happening on April 26.) So, this might have been excuse sufficient for me to have a good time his beautiful floral allusions by showcasing some fragrances I really feel are notably pertinent to Shakespeare’s love of flowers. Nevertheless, Destiny intervened to disclose an much more intriguing story…

Whereas eager about writing a common Shakespeare and perfume sort article, just a little chicken (the truth is, fellow perfume author and good friend Amanda Carr, co-founder of We Put on Fragrance, and at the moment organising the inaugural Barnes Fragrance Fair) occurred to say to me that 4160 Tuesdays founder and perfumer, Sarah McCartney had not too long ago acquired a reasonably fabulous personal fee to create a Shakespearean-inspired perfume for none apart from Gyles Brandreth. A famous Shakespeare professional, broadcaster, creator and language-lover.



At the moment named Sonnet No.1, the perfume is definitely for each Gyles and his beloved spouse, the author Michèle Brown, in celebration of their forthcoming wedding ceremony anniversary. Describing the components she used for the composition, Sarah selected: ‘Rose, violet, lavender, lily, narcissus absolute, musks and hay absolute,’ with two variations having been made, one together with beeswax absolute.

Earlier than you ask if we will all get our arms (and noses) on it, Sarah explains, ‘I solely made it on Monday, so in the intervening time simply 30mls exist, but it surely’s beautiful! (Although I say it myself.) I’d wish to launch it, but it surely must undergo its stability exams and all of the official processes earlier than it could possibly go public.’ Nicely, it most likely does appear solely honest to let Gyles and Michèle benefit from the perfume first, however golly it does certainly sound beautiful, so fingers-crossed. Within the meantime, perfume and Shakespeare lovers ought to contemplate one other lovely 4160 Tuesday’s scent. Says Sarah:

Ealing Inexperienced was initially made for a fundraising occasion on Midsummer Night time in Ealing, and I used herbs and flowers talked about within the play… wild rose, thyme, grassy banks, violets and oakmoss function.’




We have been invited to make a midsummer scent for a 2013 charity night in Ealing, West London, utilizing crops and flowers named in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night time’s Dream, so we imagined the scenes happening by Pitzhanger Manor on Ealing Inexperienced, and created the aroma of a magical summer time night. Its good for carrying within the warmth.
It begins with a wander via the herb and flower gardens of Walpole Park, takes in a picnic on the grass and finally ends up mendacity on the garden by the pond, staring on the clouds floating by, smelling the nice and cozy earth.

4160 Tuesdays Ealing Inexperienced £65 for 50ml eau de parfum

What higher time to buy a bottle and immerse your self within the floral imagery of Shakespeare?

So synonymous with flowers is Shakespeare, the truth is, that seed boxes of Shakespeare’s Flowers are actually accessible from Shakespeare’s Globe store, the place you’ll be able to select from ‘…the Shakespearean Growbar, containing the seeds of three Shakespearean flowers: heartsease, marigold and columbine. Or the Tudor Herbs Growbar, containing the seeds of three herbs acquainted to the Tudors: fennel, lemon balm and winter savory.’


Shakespearean Flowers Growbar £12

[Just don’t spray the flowers with the perfume, is all I’m saying. We know how he’d have felt about that.]


Written by Suzy Nightingale