LIGHTSCAPES flowers have roots in Van Corlandt Manor's colonial past


Tuesday, 5/6/2014 2:14pm

Historic Hudson Valley’s new LIGHTSCAPES event at Van Cortlandt Manor features thousands of colorful “flowers” lighting up the front lawn and floral “vines” twining their way up the manor house stairs and porch (right) transforming the site into a night-blooming garden.

When the Van Cortlandts lived at the manor in the second half of the18th and early 19th centuries, flowers crossed the threshold of the house as well. Freshly-cut bouquets served as decorations and floral motifs adorned household goods.

No matter the final product — whether a luxurious knife box, humble stoneware platter, or embroidered coverlet — colonial artists turned to the garden and to botanical prints and paintings depicting flowers and garden creatures like butterflies to enliven their work. Found on ceramics, textiles and even carved into furniture of the period, the colors and shapes of flowers clearly provided endless inspiration.

The LIGHTSCAPES creative team, in turn, drew inspiration from the Van Cortlandt Manor collection and its many examples of colonial floral design. So, from a larger-than-life flower bouquet fashioned after a 1730 print, to a beautiful butterfly maze inspired by images on a pair of 18th century porcelain flower pots, LIGHTSCAPES pays tribute to Van Cortlandt Manor’s colonial past.

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