Object of the Week: A WW1 Soldier’s Collection of Pressed Flowers, c.1917
These pressed flowers, including a poppy, were collected by George Marr whilst serving as a soldier on the Eastern Front in Greece during World War I. Some of the flowers he posted from Salonika to his sweetheart, who later became his wife. On his death his daughter, Georgeann Slater, found a notebook he had kept during his service in Greece. Georgeann said:
When I opened the notebook, and flowers were pressed on just about every page, I thought how beautiful it must be for a young man to be so taken with this country. And the thought that I might go to Greece and see these lovely wild flowers was a great encouragement to me. I went to the plains above Salonika, where my father was in 1917. To think that he was walking among those wildflowers, such a sweet gentle man, is a lovely memory of my father.
The collection is made up of Convolvulus althaeoides (Mallow Leaved Bindweed), Agrostemma githago (Corncockle), Adonis annua (Pheasant’s Eye), Papaver rhoeas (Field Poppy), Hedera helix (Common Ivy), Echium plantagineum (Purple Viper’s Bugloss), Rosa sempervirens (Evergreen rose), Daucus carota (Wild Carrot), Cyclamen persicum (Florist’s Cyclamen), Campanula ligulata, Consolida regalis (Forking larkspur) and Juniperus Phoenicia (Phoenician Juniper).
These wartime wildflowers from our collection inspired jewellery Phoebe Walsh’s project Flowers from the Frontline, using flowers from the new frontlines in Kyiv.