Florals: Desire and Design

Florals: Desire & Design
  • Closed
February 15, 2020 to January 3, 2022
  • Level 3, European Special Exhibitions Gallery
Included with museum admission


Explore an era of European botanical discovery and its cultural connections in Florals: Desire and Design. With world-wide exploration and the economic expansion of the 1700s came a new-found fascination with plants and flowers, resulting in their exchange around the globe through trade. Plants that were previously unknown to Europe were prized as precious gifts. Whether enjoyed in botanical gardens, on foreign luxury goods with floral decoration, or as illustrations in botanical books and magazines, there was a growing desire for all things floral.

Highlighting botany’s connection to the culture of the era, Florals invites visitors to discover an explosive period of botanical fascination and interest during which art, culture and nature were inextricably linked. This installation showcases influential botanical publications and exquisite illustrations from the 1700s alongside stunning Indian cotton fashion pieces and wall hangings covered with colourful hand-painted flowers. These select objects from the ROM’s collection showcase how Indian artisans customized cotton textiles to indulge the European fascination.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Royal Exhibitions Circle.