Words by Jessica Peace

Renaissance painters of the 15th century used the Lily as a symbol of virginity and innocence. In, ‘Annunciation’, dashed out by Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Verrocchio the angel offers the ‘Madonna Lily’, to represent Mary's virginity and Florence the city.

In 1794 William Blake wrote, ‘The Lily’ to display beauty without the prick of a thorn: ‘... the Lily white shall in love delight, / Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.’

John Singer Sargent’s, ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ is one of the most vivid pieces in Victorian art. Whilst Sargent was gadding about on the Thames he sailed past Chinese lanterns bobbing above the Lilies.

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