God's Flowers
An Iconography for Foliage Decoration

God's Flowers

Extracts from
God's Flowers



God's Flowers.

God's Flowers explores the flowers and foliage decoration of medieval churches and their symbolism. It challenges the idea that such foliage is mere decoration, where only the skill of the carver and the beauty of the result are worthy of consideration. It illustrates clearly how the subjects were chosen with a rationale in mind and lays the foundation upon which to build a deeper understanding of these undoubtedly beautiful carvings.

The book first examines a number of aspects relating to the carvings, including the history of the evolution of the various styles, (reaching back to early Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations), their context within the religious beliefs of the day, and the significance of their placement within the church or Cathedral.  There is also a brief recap of the recent history of our developing understanding of these carvings, noting that as recently as the 1930s there was no particular significance attached to them in academic circles.

The main body of the lavishly illustrated book is given over to detailed discussion of some sixty species of flora that may be found as religious carvings.  The book presents alphabetically the most commonly encountered species in Northern European medieval carving, dating largely from the period 1100 to 1550. lt also explains the likely 'spiritual' reasons for the inclusion of this plant in church carving. lllustrations drawn from geographically diverse sites, clearly show that there is common thrust for the iconography of foliage ideas across much of Northern Europe.

The book contains 182 pages with a total of 522 commented colour illustrations, and further illustrative and ‘mystery’ pictures, and is presented in large paperback format (209 x 296mm).


The Flowers of ExeterPaperback. Stiff card cover. 170 gm Art Silk. 182pp.209 x 296 mm. 8.25 x 11.65 in.

ISBN  9-780953-265237.    £25.00  p&p £5.00 in U.K.

From the publishers;

Charlesfort Press, Northover, Great Church Way, Plymouth PL9 8JY. U.K.



Daily Telegraph - Christopher Howse's 'Religious Book of the Year', 21 December 2012 - click here to read the review

How to buy this book

The book is available for a donation of £30 to 'The National Churches Trust' charity.

You can either donate directly to the Trust through the 'justgiving' web site, linked below:


and then send an e-mail to Charlesfort Press using the link on the 'links' page of this website, confirming your donation and sending your postal contact details.  Alternatively send a cheque for £30 made out to 'The National Churches Trust'  to Charlesfort Press at the address given above, including your postal contact details with the cheque.


Introduction   God's Flowers

Extracts from
God's Flowers