The Victoria Regia



"There is a splendour in the living flower."



Cut the petals from my peculiarly prepared wax; attach a wire half way

up each at the back; colour the first sixteen petals with pale lemon.

The remaining petals require a faint glow of pink laid on from the base

towards the centre. They must be all much moulded with the large ivory

curling pin, as well as assisted by the thumb and finger. The sixteen

petals which constitute the two first rows, and which have been tinted

pale lemon, have a deep pink vandyke or point formed at the lower end of

each; round the edge of this point must be laid numerous spots and

strokes of rich crimson, produced with crimson lake and minute portions

of blue. Eight of the last named petals are shaded darker than the

others, and are placed on first.



The centre or foundation is formed by moulding wax into a solid

substance, two inches in diameter and three-quarters of an inch in

depth. The stamina are very numerous, and cut according to patterns. The

points are crimson, then shaded lemon, and rich pink the lower end. They

are curled by passing the head of the curling pin firmly down the

centre, bending the points a little back. The first four rows should

fall down over the foundation, the other stand erect; by this means a

direct crown is formed which contributes in a great measure to the

beauty of the flower. The petals are placed on in rows of eight, with

the exception of the last four, or as they may be termed, sepals of the

calyx. These are at the back or outside dark chocolate colour (I prepare

a wax on purpose). The large green seed cup that is finally attached is

cast in hot wax, and can be purchased either at my establishment, or at

my counters, Soho Bazaar. The calyx and seed cup are covered with

prickles: to form these, roll some shreds or strips of light green wax

between the marbles moderately warm; sever them into small pieces; hold

the thickest end to a lighted candle, and apply each quickly to its

proper place.



In selecting this flower as the closing subject of my instructions, it

may not be entirely devoid of interest to many of my pupils to be

furnished with a brief detail of the derivation of its name and

character, as also the place where this extraordinary production of

nature was first discovered. Sir R. Schomburgk was travelling in British

Guiana, in the year 1837. It was in the River Berbice he beheld it, or I

may say them, for numbers were floating in all their pride and glorious

beauty, and at once struck him with surprise from the majesty of their

form, and brilliancy of colour. This plant flowered first in England, at

Chatsworth, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, and soon after was named

"Victoria," by the gracious permission of her Majesty.



Mr. Paxton has publicly stated, that his design for the Crystal Palace

originated in consequence of his having planned the house in which was

grown the first specimen of this gigantic plant at Chatsworth. Thus its

name will be immortalized in connexion with that of the Exhibition till

time immemorial. I think it may be justly denominated an emblem of

strength and power.



Before I entirely leave this subject, I cannot resist alluding to the

circumstance of my withdrawing works of great magnitude (and which I had

purposely prepared for competition), from the late great Exhibition. It

is due also to the gentlemen who formed the executive committee that a

true statement should be made respecting their exclusion. A rumour

having been circulated that they (the gentlemen of the executive

committee), refused to give me adequate space, I am anxious to repudiate

such statements, and to acknowledge that some of my best patronesses

previously to the opening of the Great Exhibition, and since that

period, have been various members of the families of those gentlemen and

the Royal commissioners. Ample space was allotted to me in the gallery,

and it was considered that as other wax flowers were to be arranged

there, mine would not suffer more than the rest; but the gentleman, and

I believe the only person who had anything to do with the arrangement of

mine, was Mr. Owen Jones. I acquit this gentleman of any invidious

feeling towards me, but can only regret that he did not personally

inspect my works. If he had, I feel persuaded he would have been amazed

at their magnitude and the bulk of labour executed by myself unassisted.

As it is, it is more than probable that I suffer in the opinion of some,

to the effect that I showed some degree of "temper" or obstinacy in

withdrawing them.



I am likewise anxious that it should be known that it was not the heat

of the gallery entirely that intimidated me. My plates of bent glass

were much larger than any in the Crystal Palace, and the groups were

arranged upon thirty hundred weight of stone. The whole formed such a

huge mass that it was deemed by scientific men to be impracticable to be

elevated to the gallery, without jeopardising what had been produced by

me by intense labour and profuse expense. The truth of this statement

can be testified by an examination of the works, which may be viewed

daily at my residence from ten till five o'clock (gratuitously). They

have already been inspected by fifty thousand visitors; and as a proof

that they have excited some interest and much admiration, I subjoin at

the end of this little volume a few extracts from the public journals.





I have but little more to add--



"Now to the world my little book go forth,

With all thy faults."



I cannot expect it will escape the criticism and censure of some; but if

it meet the approbation of the discerning, and carries out my cherished,

my promised views, that of instructing the uninitiated--furthering the

purposes of Wax Flower Modelling--and refreshing the memories of my

earliest pupils, who may for a season have neglected so charming an

occupation, I shall be more than repaid for the trials and

disappointments attending the various efforts I have made to satisfy

all.



"Hoping the best--ready the worst to brook,

Yet seeking friendly hearts--go forth, my little book."



"As life is then so short, we should so live and labour that we may have

pleasing remembrances to console and cheer us at its close; let us work

earnestly and diligently, not only for our own good, but for that of our

fellow creatures:--



"Oh! let us live so, that flower by flower,

Shutting in turn, may leave

A lingerer still, for the sunset hour,

A charm for the shaded eve!"

HEMANS.





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