The Rosarian Library

A collection of books and other resources

dedicated to the rose


By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jan 20 2018 04:52PM

I have had printed recently an article entitled 'Nineteenth Century British Rose Literature; a brief discourse on the 19th century literature, written in Britain, that is dedicated solely to the Rose.'

This is the first of a series of articles exploring the nature of 19th century Rose Literature. Further articles will include, through a study of the literature, The Growth in the Popularity of Roses, the Development of Rose Varieties and their method of Cultivation, the Rosarians and American and European Rose Literature.

Article Cover

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jan 3 2018 03:51PM

'The Most Comprehensive Rose Library in the World'. I wonder whether this would still be true today. This description by the Royal National Rose Society (RNRS) of their library was written regularly in their publications. This library has now been incorporated into The Rosarian Library so I am wondering whether we can still boast the world ranking. I have no reason to believe that the RNRS library lost some of its books; it is more a matter of whether other libraries have overtaken The Rosarian Library in the number and range of texts.

Annuals (1907 - 1984?) produced by the society came in a range of colours over the years.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Sep 21 2017 01:54PM

Of the thirty-one books dedicated solely to the Rose written in Britain during the C19th the most popular, undoubtedly, was 'A Book about Roses' by the clergyman Samuel Reynolds Hole. Written in 1869 it has since had a miraculous history of new editions, impressions and reprints. Between 1869 and 1894 there were fourteen editions, some only a matter of months apart. In 'The Letters of Dean Hole' (1907 P. 141) we learn that " . . .the eleventh edition of my little Book was sold in 6 months - 3000 copies."

'A Book about Roses' First Edition 1869. (Note the green cloth and gold rose)

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jul 18 2017 09:57AM

Is this the total number of book titles, solely about roses and printed in the English language that are sitting on our library shelves waiting to be read? I am sure there are one or two still in hiding but hopefully the majority are now discovered. (I said this a month or so ago when I listed 760 but they keep appearing when least expected!) This list does not include the many editions of the same book nor does it include all the annual publications by the various rose societies. I have included only one each of these with the date range of publication.

One of the oldest 'The Rose Amateurs's Guide' (1840) Thomas Rivers and one of the newest books in the library.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jun 6 2017 11:20AM

I am reminded of this incredible Victorian artist (1836-1904) every day as Fantin Latour, the rose is blooming beautifully in my garden now at the beginning of June. I planted this old Centifolia rose not only because all the Centifolias are stunning and fragrant but because I so admire the artist and his paintings of roses. I do not know who named the rose but it is a fitting tribute to this great man.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Apr 4 2017 01:19PM

I have bought a couple of things on line recently that haven't quite materialised into what I thought they were going to be! The first was miniature roses which I will tell you about in another blog - I am beginning to think the term 'miniature rose' is an oxymoron!

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Mar 14 2017 03:06PM

My rosy fabric collection continues to grow even though the sewing seems to have declined! I still occasionally find a length of fabric that is irresistible and often it will prove to be from the Sanderson range. How many rose fabrics they have printed since their birth in 1860 I have no idea but I intend to find out.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Feb 21 2017 01:52PM

You know how one thing leads to another . . . . . well, last week the auction site The Saleroom contacted me because they knew of a painting of roses that was coming up for auction. They do this because I am an avid collector of rose paintings and rose books so when they are notified of either in a sale they send me an email alert. A super facility - you should try it.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Feb 6 2017 11:27AM

760 is the total number of book titles of books dedicated solely to the rose that I have managed to find. I am sure there must be others, as I continue my search, but I do think that I have discovered the majority. My number does not include more than one edition of a book nor does it include all the annual publications by the various rose societies. I have included only one of each of these with the date range where possible.

By Dr Elizabeth Perks, Jan 29 2017 11:24AM

Most of us must have seen images of Pierre-Joseph Redoute's rose paintings as they not only hang on our walls but also decorate a huge range of merchandise for the home: mugs, trays, tea towels, lamp shades, calendars, waste bins and more. In this way he gives pleasure to millions of people throughout the world but do you know much about the man and his unusual story?

Rosa Centifolia - taken originally from the work 'Les Roses'.

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Welcome to my blog


Welcome to my world of roses. How fortunate I am to be surrounded by the queen of flowers!


Over the years I have collected many ‘rosy’ souvenirs and am now surrounded by rosy pictures, china, fabrics and my beautiful books.


I hope you will wish to follow me on a rosy journey and contribute with your thoughts and ideas. I enjoy growing roses but I also appreciate the smell of a real rose potpourri, the glimpse of a painting of roses, the discovery of a different rose cup and saucer or piece of fabric or to see a wild rose nestling in the hedgerow.


I will share with you my rose stories and will endeavour to answer any queries you may have regarding this amazing flower.

Until then. . . .. . . .