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 got 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 today; what we are able to 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 inventive suggestion Shakespeare proffers.


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


Most of the flowers Shakespeare alluded to in his work have led to well-known phrases we nonetheless use, equivalent to ‘a rose by some other identify’ and ‘gilding the lily’, nevertheless it’s price mentioning, beautiful as they’re, these are slight misquotations. In Romeo and Juliet, the rose is used to there to garland Juliet’s grievance 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 some other identify 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 in fact it’s a literary manner of claiming that pure magnificence needn’t be embellished, would level out that many positive 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 about 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 delivery is unknown, additionally the day his birthday is historically celebrated (his baptism being recorded as going down on April 26.) So, this is able to have been excuse sufficient for me to rejoice his attractive floral allusions by showcasing some fragrances I really feel are significantly pertinent to Shakespeare’s love of flowers. Nevertheless, Destiny intervened to disclose an much more intriguing story…

Whereas eager about writing a normal Shakespeare and perfume kind article, a little bit chicken (in truth, fellow perfume author and buddy 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 lately obtained a slightly fabulous non-public fee to create a Shakespearean-inspired perfume for none apart from Gyles Brandreth. A famous Shakespeare skilled, broadcaster, creator and language-lover.



Presently named Sonnet No.1, the perfume is definitely for each Gyles and his beloved spouse, the author Michèle Brown, in celebration of their forthcoming marriage ceremony anniversary. Describing the elements 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 are able to all get our fingers (and noses) on it, Sarah explains, ‘I solely made it on Monday, so in the meanwhile simply 30mls exist, nevertheless it’s attractive! (Although I say it myself.) I’d prefer to launch it, nevertheless it must undergo its stability checks and all of the official processes earlier than it will possibly go public.’ Properly, it most likely does appear solely honest to let Gyles and Michèle benefit from the perfume first, however golly it does certainly sound attractive, so fingers-crossed. Within the meantime, perfume and Shakespeare lovers ought to think about one other lovely 4160 Tuesday’s scent. Says Sarah:

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




We had 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 Evening’s Dream, so we imagined the scenes going down 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 by way of 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, in truth, that seed boxes of Shakespeare’s Flowers are actually obtainable from Shakespeare’s Globe store, the place you may 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