Whether it’s the hue of a precious gem or a stem that reminds them of a special time or place - our florists take inspiration from a plethora of subjects when crafting a memorable McQueens Flowers gathering. Our latest design, Peaches and Cream is the first in a seasonal series of bouquets inspired by the Courtauld collection.

Our floral designers are thrilled to be collaborating with curators from The Courtauld to select artworks from their collection that represent the natural world that then become the inspiration for a series of floral masterpieces.

For the Summer bouquet, McQueens Flowers Head of Events, Gina Hardy chose ‘Still life with peaches and hazelnuts’ by Dutch Master, Michiel van Huysum as her creative influence.

Dr Rachel Sloan, Assistant Curator of Works on Paper - shares her insight on 'Still life with peaches and hazelnuts':

“This exquisite watercolour by Michiel van Huysum, one of the members of a dynasty of Dutch painters who specialised in still life, seems made to appeal to both a botanist and an art-lover. The peaches, still attached to their branches, and the hazelnuts, still enclosed in their husks, are observed in meticulous detail and with a skillful handling of contrasting colour. The holes eaten into the leaves by insects not only emphasise the individuality of the plants, they also recall the tradition of the vanitas - a type of still life whose symbolism highlights the fleeting and fragile nature of life.”

Drawn to the simplicity of the still life, Gina explains why it captured her imagination:

“My initial impression of this pretty still life by Van Huysum was its sweet simplicity. However, as I spent a little longer taking it in, I was struck by its depth of colour - despite it being largely created in one palette. These quite specific hues instantly reminded me of some very special early summer floral varieties - the deep blush of the peach for example is akin to the quite gorgeous shade of Fritillaria Aurora (the structural stem found in the bouquet) while the more subtle tones of the hazelnuts are embodied by the wonderfully frilly coffee Lisianthus. With plenty of warmth, I was keen to compliment the blooms with some refreshing Duchesse Nemo Peonies - a particularly gorgeous variety of this ever-popular flower.”

McQueens Flowers has been a proud Founding Partner of The Courtauld since spring 2019. We are committed to supporting academic excellence and research in Sculpture and Decorative Arts through our support of the McQueen’s Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Art, Illuminating Objects and Sculptural Processes Group. We have also had the privilege of creating a stunning floral art installation for the Venice Biennale, inspired by the institute’s collection of Impressionist masterpieces.

Peaches and Cream is now available for pre-order for delivery from 1st June.