The title of my upcoming show in New York has led me to delve deep into the world of the form of roses and has opened my eyes and understanding, and given me many ideas for future paintings.

The rose shape we are perhaps most familiar with is that of the Hybrid Teas Roses which have a high pointed scrolled bud, and the beauty of the rose is in the opening of the bud.

The beauty in the perfection of this form is short-lived because once opened these roses have little discernible form.  It is just in the last 150 years that this form of the rose has been bred and become popular.

But if we look deeper there is much fascination to be found in the Old Roses.  The original Wild Roses also called Species Roses were a single flower with usually five petals.  When these roses were developed into garden roses, through natural mutations and hand pollination, the number of petals increased and the rosette-shaped flowers appeared.

These roses don’t have a tight bud but rather a small cup which opens progressively until the full splendour of the rose is revealed.  The rosettes may be flat or cupped, shallow or deep, the cup may be open where the stamens show or full when it is filled with many small petals, the petals might be folded or ‘quartered’ and some have a ‘button eye’.

The blooms of these types of roses are quite long-lived because whilst the outer petals die, the inner petals stay fresh and the rose holds its shape.
Whether it is a modern Hybrid Tea or an Old Garden Rose, the form of roses offers endless inspiration and invokes a sense of wonder.

Reference: David Austin’s English Roses, 1996.