top of page

You Can Smell the Roses

As I read this book and feast on its beautiful illustrations I feel that I could reach out to touch the petals and inhale the heady perfume of these iconic plants. Although this book focuses on a flower so often referred to in literature, Rosie Sanders has managed to keep the artwork exquisite, the text informative, whilst at the same time adding just enough of a personal touch to make the book feel warm and inviting without becoming overly sentimental.

To clarify, I am not a rose lover, but I think that this book may have converted me. There is something in the pages for rose enthusiasts, botanical artists, botanists and gardeners to enjoy.

The introduction and history of the rose is absorbing and full of fascinating facts. I had no idea that repeat flowering (resonant) roses originated in China or that there were so many herbal remedies that include the rose. I remember making rose hip syrup when my daughter was small…neither of us liked it and the preparation process must have denatured the vitamin C anyway. Details about twenty million year old fossils, early Minoan fresco's or the role of the rose as a religious symbol takes the book from an exotic coffee table tome to a well researched and beautifully illustrated read.

After the comprehensive thirty one page introduction the true magic of this book emerges and you immerse yourself in forty plus pages of sumptuous images intertwined with graphite illustrations and relaxed watercolour sketches, enhanced by hand written notes by the author. These add both charm and a more personal touch to the book.

For those of us who are passionate botanical artists Rosie has included some of her colour palettes and on the final pages of the book, there are thumbnail pictures of each illustration together with their dimensions. This gives you the true scale of some of these images, think meters rather than centimeters.

I suggest that you follow the links below to Rosie’s Utube videos so that you can gain a full appreciation of how Rosie approaches her exquisite artwork.

This is a beautifully presented book from a talented, award winning artist, the price is good value and I would recommend it without reservation.

Elaine Allison BSc, PhD, Vice President Association of British Botanical Artists


Title: Rosie Sanders’ Roses Author: Rosie Sanders Published: 26th September 2019 Published by: Batsford, ISBN 9781849945523


Rosie Sanders Part 1: The inspiration behind her work

Rosie Sanders Part 2: Rosie at work in her studio

296 views0 comments
bottom of page