Between Folds / British Grasses

Material: Natural History of British Grasses by E J. Lowe, London; 1864.
150 x 100
2012

Synonymous with England are the images of lush green meadows, banks of wild grass peppered with flowers, and parks of soft tufts beckoning for picnics. Only in a climate that is mild and substantially wet do such species thrive, determined and unrelenting under foot. Soft, deep and yellowy greens spread across the pages, drawing on the strength of grass, its simple and beautiful multiplicity. Each elegant blade and feathery head grows up into the next, an emerald web brightly woven. Delicate fronds are nature’s needles, with dusty flowers that break and blow in the wind. As one of the most versatile and abundant species, grass seems everlasting – and so the book’s text forms a colon, indicating the rebirth and regrowth that comes with every season. The first rounded stop tells of the wonderful colloquial names – the spiked fox-tail, the rough cat’s-tail and the annual beard-grass – while the bottom reads the incantations of the Latin. Pictures and words pay homage to this small and fierce greenery – the base of any British landscape.

* Commissioned for the entrance area of a luxury hotel in Devon; England.