The Flower Show: Spring Summer 2013 Tana Lawn Collection

Tuesday 15th January 2013, 16.23

The spring summer 2013 tana lawn fabric collection has arrived in store, and to welcome the latest Liberty print editions the fabulous Liberty Art Fabrics team have shared with us their inspirations behind each fabric story:


This season’s series, The Flower Show, is a collection of seven botanical print stories influenced by inspirational visits, artistic collaborations and archival documents. The Liberty Art Fabrics collection has been the best printed flower show in the world since the late 1870s, when its floral block printed fabrics were first sold. The new collection features up to 40 unique and recreated designs printed on our classic tana lawn fabric alone, with the hues from each colour board taking inspiration from six flower species that include delphiniums, heucheras, magnolias, peonys, roses and tulips. It is a celebration of wonderful and inspiring research, collaborations and a studio passionate about print, and capturing and drawing nature at its simplest and most beautiful.


Watch our classic tana lawn fabric being made here with our behind the scenes video.



Situated 28 miles south of the Cornish coast is the second largest inhabited island of the Isles of Scilly, Tresco. The world famous sub-tropical Tresco Abbey Garden, and its extraordinary diversity of plant life, drew the Liberty Art Fabrics Studio to this small, idyllic island. With plant species from 80 countries, ranging from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa, the jaw-dropping scenery and flora of Tresco led to a succulent series of prints drawn and painted from hand cut plant specimens, still life and photography.

1. Xanthe Sunbeam – scattered golden flora from Tresco Abbey Garden: drawn and painted with ink in situ.

2. June’s Meadow – originally hand drawn in pencil on a visit to Tresco this print features a meadow of cut specimens from the Abbey Garden.

3. Beth’s Flowers – a tropical floral climber hand painted from photographs taken of flowers in the garden.

4. Amy Jane – an intricate heart print composed of delicate flowers mingling with twisting vines, reminiscent of the exotic trees found in the Abbey Garden.

5. Archipelago – the treasures in the Abbey Garden are not limited to florals, there is also a collection of mosaics and shipwrecked figure heads. All these inspired this design of an exotic floral conversational with spiky palms, tropical plants and huge succulents mixed with mysterious statues.


Guerrilla Gardening:

Guerrilla Gardening is a loose global movement of gardening without boundaries, digging up land and bringing life to neglected public spaces. This group of prints is inspired by Richard Reynolds, founder of, and his nocturnal transformation of the abandoned flower beds and roundabouts of Elephant and Castle in London.

1. Joan Larke – detailed hand drawn lavender is layered over a painted texture of grass, capturing the spirit of the ethereal lavender field planted by Guerrilla Gardeners on a roundabout on Westminster Bridge Road in London. Lavender loves its city environment and has so many fans intoxicated by the smell and sight of a lavender meadow in the heart of London. Not only do the bees harvest the flowers, but the crop is also cut every year to create lavender pillows for fundraising.

2. Castile – a hand drawn print with a forest vibe, which is particularly relevant as in Summer 2011 ‘The Elephant and Castle Urban Forest’ campaign was set up to re-develop the area and to save trees. The design also captures wonderful watering machines, sunflowers and wildlife, all relevant to the Guerrilla Gardeners.

3. Richard and Lyla – two characters depicted in this print who met while planting tulips on a London roundabout. The design inspiration was a 1950s archive print which was then re-worked and hand painted to depict Guerrilla Gardeners bringing plants to an urban landscape, creating areas of beauty amongst the architecture.

4. Mayrose – each year Guerrilla Gardeners worldwide plant sunflowers on May 1st. This design was originally hand drawn from sunflowers and then finally created with layers of wax crayon from which the drawings were scraped out in repeat, almost as if being planted in the soil.


Chelsea Flower Show:

This collection of prints was inspired by The Chelsea Flower Show and its central marquee. All designs contain a single species of flower.

1. Speckle – a print based on flowers photographed at The Chelsea Flower Show, chosen due to their speckled and dotted texture on their petals. The flower heads are simplified and complimentary dots were added to create a textured micro flora.

2. Suria – inspired by a micro alpine flower discovered at Chelsea. The flowers’ appeal were their diaphanous nature, delicate and interweaving stems and trumpet-like flower heads.

3. Matilda Tulip – a hand drawn tulip check inspired by Delftware tiles. The tulips were all sketched from photographs taken at Chelsea.

4. Marc Gosling – a geometric leaf print inspired by a rare type of heliconia.

5. Fierce – the strong leaf markings of succulents inspired this design with their unusual spiky leaves and abstract geometry.



The motto inscribed above the Secession building in Vienna: ‘To the age its art, to art, it’s freedom’ inspired eminent painters, architects and designers to create art which is admired all over the world. This led the Liberty Art Fabrics Studio to visit this capital city and the following designs were inspired by the natural plant forms and structures they encountered.

1. Hazel – the Museum of Decorative Art, or MAK, in Vienna bought many Liberty textiles in the late 1890s and early 1900s as examples of good industrial design. Hazel is based on two designs from this collection originally created in the 1890s.

2. Jugendstil – this design is based on two designs from the Liberty Archive, one an Art Nouveau style from the 1890s and the other a woven fabric from the late 1890s which was designed by the Silver Studio.

3. Reuben Nouveau – a geometric watercolour inspired by the architectural details of the Secessionist house in Vienna, and the paintings of Gustav Klimt.

4. Aronov – a graphic hand drawn lady and bird design inspired by the romance of the Secession movement.

5. Gustav and Otto – curly, spirally patterns inspired by Gustav Klimt’s paintings blended with sculpted creatures from Otto Wagner’s buildings.

6. Farhad – inspired by Art Nouveau repeats and mazes of stately gardens in Vienna. Capturing motifs from art and nature.



Following on from the success of the florals created for Hello Kitty in Spring Summer 2011, the Liberty Art Fabrics studio ventured into school classrooms and asked the whole class to come up with drawings and paintings of flowers. Repeat work for this collection of prints was done in the Liberty Art Fabrics Design Studio.

1. Floral Fusion – a trailing small floral drawn by young teenagers from Putney High in London. The illustrations originated in pencil with colour blocked in on the computer later to create a classroom classic.

2. Ibstonian – a tiny floral inspired by repeats such as Edenham in the classic tana range. Flowers were hand drawn by young teenagers of Ibstock Place School in London.

3. Scilly Flora – hand drawn by a class of all ages , this collection of florals was inspired by the wonderful flora of Tresco. A tropical, almost Hawaiian print with sun-drenched colours.

4. Macleod – a graffiti floral created with an amazing array of hand drawn and painted flowers from ten-year-olds at Macleod House, London.

5. Jolie Rose – created with drawings and paintings from five-year-olds at a Parisian Primary School, the repeat was inspired by the Breton stripe. The class used flower pictures and flowers ‘all around them’ to create their images.

6. Pinky – a print created using painted and felt tip drawn florals created by five-year-olds of St Bartholomew’s School, London. The spirit of the design reflects how the children painted and embraced the project, painting flowers from real life and botanical books.



This collection of prints features a series of archival and contemporary, detailed hand-drawn and painted florals, including works created by successful artists Rachel Pedder-Smith, Debbie Smyth and Josephine Gomersall.

1. Katie and Millie – a small floral trail inspired by a design from the Liberty Archive, originally created in the 1920s.

2.Oceanid– an original in-house detailed sketch created in the late 80s, Oceanid shows botanicals mixed with vintage objects.

3. Hannah’s Poppy – Rachel Pedder-Smith is known for her unique and striking botanical illustrations of dried plant specimens from the Herbarium at Kew Gardens. She began working there eleven years ago while studying for an MA in Natural History Illustration at The Royal College of Art. Rachel has been awarded four gold medals from the Royal Horticultural Society, has had two solo shows and her paintings are included in many notable collections. The studio first came across Rachel’s work when it was exhibited in The Watercolour Exhibition at Tate Britain earlier this year. Hannah’s Poppy is a directional watercolour of perfect poppy specimens.

4. Travelling Threads – Debbie Smyth is synonymous with her thread drawings, created by stretching a network of threads between accurately plotted pins. Debbie’s work blurs the boundaries between textiles, drawing and fine art. We commissioned Debbie to create her beautiful thread embroideries based on London’s Transport, adorned with stitched florals as if they are retired or moored in their final resting place with nature  moving in and growing around them.

5. Josephine’s Garden – Josephine Gomersall works from her studio at home in Seagrave. Her botanical drawings are inspired by surrounding hedgerows and countryside. Daisies, buttercups and clover leaves are drawn with the most delicate of pencil shades and watercolour washes to create this print.


Botanical Garden:

This capsule collection of botanicals has all been digitally printed and features designs by eminent artists Mary Fedden, Hugo Grenville and Rachel Pedder Smith, which sit alongside artworks by the Liberty Art Fabrics Studio and freelance designers.

1. Irma – digitally printed to retain exact brush strokes and the tiniest pencil marks. Euphorbia, poppies, astrantia and iberis create a delicate ethereal meadow.

2. Hugo Grenville – Hugo Grenville is a very established painter, his latest exhibition opened in New York in May 2013. Hugo exhibits both in London and the US and is a regular visitor to Tresco where he draws inspiration for his works and many of his paintings hang there. Visit Hugo’s website here.

3. Abbey Pool – one of the great 20th century British artists, Mary Fedden OBE, now 95, is a Royal Academician and has had many exhibitions and commissions. Mary was the first women to teach painting at the Royal College of Art, where one of her students was David Hockney. Her art concentrates on the pre-occupation of the still life with a view beyond and her oils fetch £20,000 plus.

4. Tresco – a watercolour study of a selection of flowers, ferns and succulents from the windswept sand dunes and landscaped borders of the Abbey Garden, which represents the rich collection of plants gathered from around the globe.

5. Otilia – a fantastical forest created from digitally manipulating photographs to capture the Abbey Gardens diverse tropical foliage.

6. Saeed – a floral texture which is an eclectic mixture of hand drawn photo realistic pansies drawn by Michael Angove, and abstract violas by a student of Central Saint Martins.

7. Pointillism – an abstract impression of the wild floral fields of Tresco, layers of thickly applied oil paint create a multi coloured texture.

8. Floral Eve – this design is taken from a large botanical painting called ‘The Herbarium Specimen‘, painted by Rachel Pedder Smith, which is over five metres long and took seven hundred and sixty six days to complete. This project brought together art and science, depicting one specimen to represent each flowering plant family painted in the order of a contemporary DNA-based classification system. We chose the most floral elements of the painting for this design.

9. Marina Seaflower – a hand painted collection of botanicals painted from the lush flora of Tresco and originally created as a scarf.





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