No slang term this week, but a term much-used during the Regency era all the same. I felt the need for something pretty and bright and blooming this week.
1. A flower, nosegay, or bouquet.
2. Archaic, a brief motto or the like, as one inscribed within a ring.
Le Langage des Fleurs, by Charlotte de Latour, 1819.
Published in 1819, Le Langage des Fleurs by Charlotte de Latour (likely a pseudonym) set the stage for a proliferation of flower books to follow. Latour’s book was hugely popular because of its unique publishing formats and exclusive runs in those sizes:
“…the smaller volume with fourteen plates and an engraved frontispiece sold for six francs, while the same volume with colored plates cost twelve francs. In larger format with colored plates the book cost twenty francs. The illustrations were by the famous miniaturist Pancrace Bessa. The publisher also produced… two special volumes: a small one printed on rose paper with the pictures on satin and a large one printed on vellum.”
Le Langage des Fleurs made it to England a year later, and “emulators” soon followed: Henry Phillips’ Floral Emblems in 1825; Frederic Shoberl’s The Language of Flowers; With Illustrative Poetry, in 1834; Robert Tyas with The Sentiment of Flowers; or, Language of Flora, in 1836.
The most popular edition of Le Langage des Fleurs to this day is the 1884 version illustrated by Kate Greenaway, known by its English title, Language of Flowers.
Language of Flowers, Illustrated by Kate Greenaway, 1884.
So what are the languages?
Le Langage des Fleurs, Tulipe, by Charlotte de Latour, 1819.
Le Langage des Fleurs, variety, by Charlotte de Latour, 1819.
- Definition from Dictionary.com.
- Information about Le Langage des Fleurs from Literary Calligraphy.
- Peruse the entire Le Langage des Fleurs here.
- Peruse Kate Greenaway’s illustrated version of Language of the Flowers here.