Friday, 21 April 2017

SF Dandelion Mural

I was in San Francisco the other day exploring the streets, taking in the sights and generally having a great time. While on the 9 mile wander I saw this mural on a wall in the city with a girl blowing on dandelion clocks. It's by artists Lady Mags and Amanda Lynn and according to their blog it took only 5 days to paint. The full artwork is much bigger - this image only shows one end of the piece. It's on 8th Street between Mission and Market streets.
Amanda Lynn blog

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Desert Dandelion

I am currently in California for 2 months on an art residency at Montalvo Arts Centre and i've been looking at changes in climate and the effects of extreme weather. While here i've had the opportunity to travel to see how different ecologies are changing or being managed etc. One of my trips took me to Death Valley National Park - the most incredible landscape, harsh, stark and very beautiful. While there I was thrilled to see desert dandelion Malacothrix glabrata. Native to the western United States it's in the Asteraceae family and although quite different to the dandelions this blog is dedicated to, i'm happy to include it.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Poor Dandelion

A couple of months ago i was contacted by Dr Lena Struwe, an associate professor and the director of the Chrysler Herbarium at Rutgers University in the USA. She had found my blog while researching weeds and the symbolism of dandelions in contemporary popular culture. We have emailed a couple of times and she's written details about her research looking at the evolutionary biology of weeds - it's fascinating. Lena also sent a few items for the Dandelion Archive: the image here shows an advert from a magazine.

The poor dandelion! Being used as a metaphor for cancer. The unwanted weed in an otherwise perfect lawn. "The challenge is to identify and attack the genetic flaws of each cancer". I suppose as a marketing idea it's saying what the company intended - but it isn't helping the negative reputation the dandelion continues to have.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Arthur Hughes Dandelion

I've been so busy this last 6 weeks i haven't had time to put anything new on the blog. 
Anyway, here is another dandelion I found in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (see post below) earlier this year.
Home from Sea is by Arthur Hughes and is oil on panel. The landscape was begun in 1856 in Chingford churchyard and the painting was first exhibited in 1857 as The Mother's Grave. Hughes altered the painting in 1862 by adding the sister figure. There are a few small dandelions, both in flower and seed, at the bottom of the painting in the grass. The label for the painting says: 'The details reinforce the pathos of the subject, so that the ephemeral nature of the spider's webs, dew drops, dog roses and dandelion seeds emphasise the theme of transience.'

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Frederick Sandys Dandelion

I was in Oxford last week and had some time to visit the Ashmolean Museum: a wonderful place with fantastic collections and it's free to enter.
I saw a few dandelions in the collection and got some photos for the blog. This painting Gentle Spring was painted by the English Pre-Raphaelite Frederick Sandys.
Painted in oils, it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1865. The figure represents Proserpina on her annual return to earth from the land of the dead in springtime. Lots of flowers are depicted in the painting: snowdrops, crocuses, anemones, violets, poppies and dandelions. The dandelions are in seed and are on the lower left of the painting.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Tereska Shepherd Dandelion

I have a Canadian friend living in Toronto and she sent me this beautiful card the other day - she knows I collect dandelion objects for the archive and she has contributed information and objects in the past too. 
This beautiful card 'Dandelion Taraxacum officinale' is from an original watercolour by artist Tereska Shepherd (website The card has now been added to the Dandelion Archive.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Dandelion Killers

I am still here in California on a residency. We're in a heatwave at the moment - it's far too hot!
I was in the hardware store the other day and noticed these weedkillers. There was a whole shelf full and most of them had dandelion images on the label as an example of which weeds the chemicals can kill.
I have also had two meals here containing dandelion leaves in salads. It seems a bit bonkers there's a whole industry dedicated to killing dandelions when you could just harvest and eat them.

Friday, 16 September 2016

NASA Dandelion!

I'm currently on a one month residency at Montalvo Arts Centre in California. It's a wonderful place nestled in woods near Saratoga, about an hour from San Francisco. 
California is in a drought at the moment and everything is dry and dusty, however i have found a few dandelions on and near the lawn in front of the Villa at Montalvo, so they are surviving here. 
A few of us from the residency were invited to go to NASA in Silicone Valley the other day - how exciting!! And, under a tree beside the road on the NASA site were a number of dandelions - so i collected a few leaves for the archive (of course i did). A great moment from a great trip.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

M&S Dandelion part 2

Look what I was given! (See post below)
I went to request the display showing dandelions from the M&S store in Preston - and they let me have it for the Dandelion Archive - brill. I went to collect it the other day - it's massive and is made up of 4 long panels. There's dandelions on 3 of the panels plus they gave me the 3D dandelion leaf too. These are the biggest objects in the archive

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Marks & Spencer Dandelion display

I was walking down the high street in Preston the other day and I spotted this window display at the Marks & Spencer store. Showing their range of new uniforms for school children, they have also used large tins of paint and a few drawn plants in the background - a couple in b&w, a couple in colour and i was delighted to see they are dandelions! There is also a giant dandelion leaf. They are beautifully drawn and i'm going to try and find the artists name if i can. I was really happy I had my camera on me too so I could get a few shots.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

UCLan Dandelions

It was graduation week at the University of Central Lancashire earlier this month and I noticed the university used the design of dandelions on their printed material and online. I like graduation week: Preston is full of students in their gowns and caps and proud families all dressed in their best outfits and everyone seems really happy.
I got this image from their twitter feed and it uses the dandelion in seed presumably to represent wishes coming true.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Patrick Allan-Fraser Dandelion

I was invited to conduct an inventory of species at Hospitalfield, an art organisation based in Arbroath in Scotland a couple of weeks ago - it's an amazing place set within gardens, woodland and arable fields and in view of the sea. Go to the Hospitalfield website to read about its history and how it was set up by Elizabeth and Patrick Allan-Fraser.

While there I was able to spend time in the library and found this copy of 'Class Book of Botany, being an introduction to the study of the Vegetable Kingdom' by J H Balfour. Boasting  'upwards of 1800 illustrations' the one that I was most interested in is this one of a dandelion. Of the illustration is says "Runcinate leaves, a, and radical peduncles or multifloral scapes, b, c, of Dandelion (Leontodon Taraxacum)".
Patrick Allan-Fraser has written his name in the front of the book and dated it June 1872.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Dant Y Llew

Over the winter I was artist in residence for Peak in the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales and spent 6 weeks there working on creating a colour chart to represent the landscape.
The colour chart considers the ecology, geology, economics, industry, culture and history of the Park. You can find more information about the commission on my website.

One of the earliest flowers to come up while I was there in January was a dandelion so I was happy to include it in the final 96 colours. Dant y Llew is the colour name (Welsh for Dandelion) and is number 38 in the chart.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Jacobus van Looij Dandelion

I was in Amsterdam last week and visited the Rijksmuseum while i was there. It's one of the most wonderful museums and we spent over 5 hours enjoying the artworks in the galleries. As usual i'm always on the look out for dandelions within art collections and was really thrilled to find one in a painting by Jacobus van Looij. The painting, entitled Blooming Clover, is oil on canvas and was painted in around 1897. There is a beautiful dandelion in seed in the top right of the painting.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Dandelion and Burdock

I have a number of food and drink packages in the Dandelion Archive each featuring dandelions in some way. Here is a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock from Marks and Spencer with dandelions on the label. Not liking the taste of Dandelion and Burdock it wasn't me who emptied the bottle, but a friend who kindly drank it so i could have it for the archive.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Sir Joseph Noel Paton Dandelion

I was in Edinburgh last month for a meeting about another project i'm working on and while there I visited the National Galleries of Scotland. I spied a dandelion in this painting by Sir Joseph Noel Paton The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania, painted in 1850. The dandelion, in seed, is below and to the left of Titania's foot. According to the label:
"In 1857, when the picture was displayed in the partially completed National Gallery of Scotland, an enraptured Lewis Carroll counted no fewer than one hundred and sixty-five fairies in Paton's microscopically detailed Shakespearian microcosm."

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

First dandelion of 2016

I'm currently on a residency in the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales and I have been exploring the local landscape since I got here last week. It's been a very mild, wet winter here in UK. I have seen a few dandelions ready to flower up in Lancashire, where I live, but I saw this one here in Wales on Sunday 24th January - it seems so early. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Lebepur Löwenzahn

I have a number of food products in the Dandelion Archive - various teas, dandelion and burdock drink etc... and someone donated this for the collection.
It was sent from Germany and is '100% Bio-Lowenzahn' (organic dandelion) and it suggests adding it to green smoothies. On one hand i'm intrigued to see and taste it, but on the other hand I want to keep the packet perfect. I have until June 2016 to decide when it runs out of date.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Villeroy and Boch Dandelion

It's been a good year for the Dandelion Archive with quite a few donations to the collection and the purchase of a few objects.
Here is a Villeroy and Boch ceramic dish, made in Luxembourg, with dandelions showing leaves and the flower in bud, bloom and going to seed. Rather gorgeous isn't it?

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Dandelion Gravy Boat

At the beginning of this year I acquired this jug / gravy boat with dandelions on it - however I don't know the maker or pottery who made it. 'Summer Bower L.419' is painted on the bottom and there is a name stamp in the base, but it's so obscured by the glaze i can't read it. If anyone knows the maker please do get in touch via the comments.
It has a dandelion flower with leaves and seed head on one side of the jug and a smaller pattern of a dandelion in bud with leaf on the other side. It's now held in the Dandelion Archive and it's one of my favourite objects.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Dandelion Cigarette Card

Ages ago I saw that Will's Cigarettes had done a series of wild flower cigarette cards with one being a dandelion and i've been on the look out ever since to try and find either a single card or a complete album. I was in the wonderful Preston Flea Market the other week and on a stall selling old postcards, books and magazines i found a copy of a complete album!

An Album of Wild Flowers, Second Series was issued in 1937 by WD & HO Wills (branch of the Imperial Tobacco Company) priced at one penny. The dandelion is number 25 out of the 50 cards in the set.

The description is this: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Thistle family. Were it not so common and a weed so difficult to eradicate, this would be considered a beautiful flower. Although it can be found in bloom during a great part of the year its main flowering time is in spring, when it often turns fields and waysides into a blaze of gold. The origin of the name Dandelion is somewhat uncertain, for although it means "Lion's tooth", like the other botanical names which have been used for it - Leontodon dens-leonis - it is not agreed whether it is the lobes of the leaf or in the tips of the florets that the resemblance occurs.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Dandelion Scarf

The Dandelion Archive holds many objects and people often donate things to be included in the collection.
Here is a scarf donated to the collection - it has different plants in the pattern, one being a full dandelion flower with leaves and seed heads too. It's labeled Officinale Taraxacum which is latin for dandelion, however the words are the wrong way around (it should be Taraxacum officinale).

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Filippino Lippi Dandelion

I've just got back from 10 days in Italy visiting Bologna, Florence and a trip to the hills near Bibbiena too.
While in Florence I visited the Uffizi Gallery - an amazing evening looking at some incredible works of art. While in the gallery I spotted a couple of dandelions in Filipino Lippi's paintings: the one here is 'The Penitent St. Jerome' and is tempera on wood, dated c1493 - 5.
I have very elegantly marked where the dandelion is on the painting. It's a dandelion in seed, quite delicate and fragile with the dark of the rock behind giving it contrast.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

100 Flowers Collection

Ages ago one of my prints was selected for the 100 Flowers Collection for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's new South Glasgow University Hospital and Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Over 70 artists contributed to the program and i'm thrilled one of my screen prints of dandelions was chosen.
There's a really nice film about the art works in the hospital:

I'm happy to see there's a few other representations of the dandelion in the collection too. Fab!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Mason's Extract of Herbs

Newball and Mason were manufacturing chemists based in Nottingham in 1800's. It was Thomas Mason who invented the 'Extract of Herbs' a concentrated essence that could be made up into a non-alcoholic Botanic Beer. I've seen a couple of their 'Extract of Herbs' bottle labels and each has an illustration with a dandelion on it. The one here also features bees: 

"The little busy bee improves the shining hour and prefers Mason's Extract of Herbs before the laborious old fashioned method of extracting it itself"

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Iceland Dandelion Postage Stamp

I have a number of postage stamps in the Dandelion Archive from a number of different countries.
This stamp from Iceland, with a dandelion flower and seeds running down the side, was issued in 1960 in a series of wild flowers. Unfortunately i can't find the artist's name.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Polish Dandelion Postage Stamp

This is a lovely little stamp in the Dandelion Archive. It's a Polish stamp from 1974 with an artwork by Stanislaw Wyspianski, a playwright, artist, poet (1869 - 1907). Many of his works are held in the National Museum in Krakow - I can feel a trip coming on...

Austrian Dandelion Postage Stamp

Here's another example of a stamp in the Dandelion Archive with a dandelion on: it's a 2007 Austrian Lowenzahn from an Alpine Flowers series. 

Friday, 5 June 2015

German Dandelion Postage Stamp

Representing Germany with stamps in my Dandelion Archive is this stamp.*
It was released in 1977 and has the German for dandelion on the stamp: Lowenzahn
I'm struggling to find the artist who did the illustrations, however I did read in a stamp catalogue that the print run was 12,217,000 - if that's of any interest.

*I also have a first day over of this set this is from, with a lovely embossed dandelion on the envelope - please see March 2013 post on this blog.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Swiss Dandelion Postage Stamp

This is a really beautiful stamp in my Dandelion Archive: it's from Switzerland (Helvetia) and was released in 1960. It came in a set with other wild flowers, however it was the dandelion I was most interested in (obviously).

Eire Dandelion Postage Stamp

I have an Irish dandelion postage stamp in the Dandelion Archive too - it's a drawing of the plant (no artist is named on the stamp, but they are by Irish artist Susan Sex) and it has the Gaelic name for dandelion: Caisearbhan. It was released in 2004 from a series depicting the 'Wild Flowers of Ireland'.

Estonia Dandelion Postage Stamp

Here's a stamp from Estonia that is also in my Dandelion Archive. It has the Estonian for dandelion on it: Harilik voilill and is dated 2004. Designed by Lembit Lohmus it's a tiny little stamp measuring 23 mm x 23 mm

Friday, 29 May 2015

Critical Supplement to the Atlas of the British Flora

By complete coincidence in addition to the Atlas of the British Flora (please see post below) I have also been given a copy of the Critical Supplement to the Atlas of the British Flora edited by FH Perring, published by the Botanical Society of the British Isles in 1978. How that's interesting is the maps contained in this one give a more detailed view of the distribution of micro species, subspecies, varieties and hybrids. Here three dandelion species: Taraxacum palustre, Taraxacum spectabile and Taraxacum laevigatum.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Atlas of the British Flora

I was given a copy of Atlas of the British Flora edited by FH Perring and SM Walters and published for the Botanical Society of the British Isles by Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd in 1962.
The atlas contains distribution maps of nearly all the flowering plants and ferns native or naturalised in the British Isles. There are over 400 pages of maps showing the distribution of around 1,700 species and in the back of the book are transparent overlays to help the user to interpret the data and determine soil preferences, climate limits, altitude range etc...

A you can see from the map here Dandelion Taraxacum is pretty much recorded all over the British Isles.

A friend gave me the book as they knew i'd love all the maps and data and it's true - i really enjoy looking through it, it's a fabulous book.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Huddersfield Dandelion Trail

People interested in dandelions contact me frequently and also link me to other projects and relevant information etc - and the other day my friend sent a link to this fab project Huddersfield Dandelion Trail by artist / writer Kevin Boniface.
There is a Facebook page for the project here

The image here, by Kevin Boniface, is taken on the trail.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Phytology Dandelion

A beautifully drawn dandelion by artist Talya Baldwin was sited on a billboard in London for the Phytology project. The billboard, installed at the South-West corner of the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, is hosting an evolving series of interventions across the spring, summer and autumn of 2015. Phytology is an action-research project bringing together artists and botanists to explore the ecology and medicinal properties of wild plants and weeds common to derelict and undeveloped urban sites.
Phytology is a Nomad and Cape Farewell project supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England and more details can be found  here:

The photo above is by Michael Smythe

Friday, 17 April 2015

Greeting cards

I'm often given greetings cards with dandelion images for the Dandelion Archive - and this one is particularly nice. It's called "Dandylions of London' by the self titled Nature Nut of Britain Samuel G Winterbourn. I noticed he uses the dandelion on a number of his designs - check out his website:

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A Bug's Life Dandelion

Continuing with the dandelions in films theme (see post below) I watched A Bug's Life for the first time the other day and there's a fabulous dandelion in it. Released in 1998 by Disney/Pixar and based on the story of the ant and the grasshopper, the scene with the dandelion is where Flik leaves the colony in search of 'warrior bugs' to help fight the grasshoppers. Flik uses a dandelion seed to fly over a deep valley - watch the film to see what i mean. 
Pixar are amazing at animating the dandelion.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Toy Story 3 Dandelion

Dandelions make it into films too - not just by accident, but as deliberate additions. Here is a beautifully animated dandelion in Toy Story 3 (released in 2010) where Buzz Lightyear tries to woo Jessie - it's funny and wonderful and if you watch the film carefully you'll begin to notice a number of dandelions flowering in the playgroup playground too. The animators at Pixar are amazing and I love they've spent time portraying dandelions and including them in the storyline. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Joseph Crawhall Dandelions

While in Edinburgh (see post below too) I bought a postcard from the National Galleries of Scotland showing The White Drake painted in 1895 by Joseph Crawhall. Unfortunately the original isn't on show at the moment, so I had to be content with the postcard, but i'm glad I spotted it.
The painting is watercolour and gouache on unsized brown linen, laid onto a wooden backboard. Crawhall was born in Morpeth, Northumberland and is chiefly known for his paintings of birds and animals.
I love this piece - the handsome duck wandering through a shaded field dotted with daisies and dandelions. Lovely.