Flower Train


My maternal grandparents were a part of the Cornish flower trade and worked a small-holding  near Falmouth in Cornwall growing flowers and sending them up the line, on the train to London. My grandfather would take my mother with him to Perranarworthal train station and drop the flowers on the London train and her onto the Falmouth train, to go to school. Sweet williams, amenomes, daffodils and violets are all flowers which I associate with my grandparents and with Cornwall.

Their names Joan and Roger Stonehouse, and in their memory, have sparked, or rather I’d like to say sparkled, a theme in my current flower painting titles. Each flower provoking a memory or thought of a person and thus, the painting being named after or for them. Sometimes it may be their favourite flower, it may be a pot of flowers which I borrowed, as in ‘Billy’s Geraniums’. Or in my grandparents’ case, because they grew them; ‘Joan’s Amenomes’, ‘Flowers for Roger’.


Cornwall’s flowers in my Newlyn studio.



In an exhibition titled ‘Naming Spaces’ at Newlyn Art Gallery, the artist Jyll Bradley included the work ‘Flower Train’. Her photography is so intensely rich in colour that, to me, they are almost like paintings.

She created a photographic series of inside flower grower’s workshops and also created a series of posters shown on rail platforms between Penzance and London – named after the now-defunct overnight trains carrying fresh flowers to market.

This is a youtube video with her talking and interviewing flower growers about the flower trade.



link to Jyll Bradley’s show at Newlyn Art Gallery


link to Jyll Bradley’s Flower Train images




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