the lost art of the botanical frame

by Sharon Santoni


botanical print with fresh flowers

Last spring, while shopping with a client, we turned down the opportunity to purchase a collection of 19th century botanical frames … not drawings or paintings, but pressed flowers, lovingly taped down and labelled in a beautiful handwritten script.

botanical print with fresh flowers

I know.  Don’t give me a hard time.  It was a mistake not to get them.  Believe me I’ve thought about them often enough since.  They seemed pricey, we were tired, we hesitated a while and let it go.  These things happen.

botanical print with fresh flowers

Today, probably to free myself of the bugging feeling that I missed something special, I created  a personal take on the 19th century pressed flower or ‘herbier’.   Of course my sprigs of flowers from the garden, freshly cut and simply laid in the centre of a frame is a poor and distant cousin to the real herbier that speaks of long afternoons and evenings, with little else to do than curate a little meadow side beauty.   They give me pleasure nevertheless and I hope they’ll do the same for you.

botanical print with fresh flowers

With warm wishes from an autumnal Normandy and many thanks for coming over to read me.



Suzanne October 8, 2015 - 8:09 pm

How lovely, Sharon. Wish I could hang these on the wall and enjoy for years to come.

Kristina October 8, 2015 - 9:35 pm

These are beautiful! They definitely make me want to create my own.

Mayree October 8, 2015 - 10:01 pm

How beautiful! I have been pressing blossoms and greenery and collecting frames to make Christmas gifts of pressed flower pictures this year as something personal and not costly for loved ones afar. I will add a pretty container of my own potpourri as well.
The leaves are turning now here in Washington State so will collect those too for autumn
Thanksgiving cards etc. I love sharing the seasons beauty!

Valerie October 8, 2015 - 10:19 pm

Wow, what a great resolution to a vexing “problem.” These are exceptionally well done !

There ought to be a word for that feeling that comes from a missed opportunity of something really special, and the fact that it can never quite be forgotten.

And then maybe another word for the satisfaction of actually creating something akin to the beautiful thing that got away.

This is my favorite kind of project. I have spent my whole working life encouraging people to pursue fine craftsmanship -beginning with conception and following through to design, build, and finish. But one has to be inspired by something to start.

Karena October 8, 2015 - 11:11 pm

Sharon, these are lovely beyond !! So very exquisite!
Thank you for showing us these little treasures!

The Arts by Karena
Artist Lee Bowers

Vicky from Athens October 8, 2015 - 11:30 pm

Lovely. Simply lovely. I have pressed then framed flowers and grasses several times that I gathered on a trip – they make a wonderful momento!

Esther George October 9, 2015 - 12:18 am

Hi Sharon, this is so pretty, love the soft pink of the rose and the purple of geranium. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen flowers used in this way. Thank you for sharing lovely. Till next time have a lovely weekend, regards Esther from Sydney.

Donna October 9, 2015 - 3:27 am

They remind me of Mrs. Delany’s botanical mosaics.

Roxane October 10, 2015 - 2:08 pm

I have never heard of Mrs Delany, so, of course, I Googled her and was very impressed by this multi-talented woman. Her life shows that it’s never too late to learn something new. These would be so lovely to see in person!

Lorrie October 9, 2015 - 4:14 am

Your interpretation of the botanical frames are beautiful, Sharon. They give a nod to the past with a modern twist. How pretty they would be printed up as greeting cards.

Susan October 9, 2015 - 5:51 am

I really like these. Hope you enjoy them!

FrenchGardenHouse October 9, 2015 - 6:35 am

These are simply lovely! Oh…how I can relate to being sorry about the “ones that got away.” Sometimes we say no when we should have said yes. Alas. Luckily, often there is another beautiful antique treasure that will grab our heart just around the corner. Your flower frames are stunning.

Laurence October 9, 2015 - 9:39 am

So pretty ! I love this new take on an herbier.
Would love to know the name of the “best rose of the summer”.
Have a lovely weekend!

Carol Magerus October 9, 2015 - 3:30 pm


Roxane October 10, 2015 - 2:09 pm

What a wonderful way to remember the last flowers of summer!

Julia October 10, 2015 - 2:50 pm

Beautiful! Thank you!!!

Kerry October 10, 2015 - 9:23 pm

I used to press leaves and flowers and write script around the edges of the latin name, common name and where and when they were collected. They were quite popular for the many years I sold them. Maybe in a hundred years they’ll show up somewhere in an antique sale!!

patio garden furniture October 14, 2015 - 10:21 am

Simply beautiful! Makes me wanna make my own. Thank you for showing us these little treasures!

Gina October 14, 2015 - 8:47 pm

your home is so lovely. I love the pillows, such a pretty color of blue

Dawn Armstrong October 20, 2015 - 5:31 am

What I like like best about my girlfriends is that no matter how much time has passed between visits, we always pick up right where we left off.

Dawn October 20, 2015 - 5:33 am

Oops, the above comment was for the book contest!

Aspire Pegasus October 21, 2015 - 8:07 am

am currently learning french and just started documenting my progress by writing a blog in french as well. Do give my blog a visit at and let me know if I made any mistakes in my posts (there may be plenty, I won’t know for sure). Really appreciate it!

Olivia December 13, 2023 - 6:39 pm

This looks amazing! With the advent of online galleries, it has become really easy to find art work in any price range and for any taste, I advise you to study the range in more detail here . Choosing a painting that suits you will not be difficult, so there is no longer any reason to refuse this exciting activity.


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