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02 June 2016

Image removed.

Giant installation from Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk celebrated the living floral inspiration behind Dutch artists’ still life paintings

On 2 June, earlier this year in London, visitors to the National Gallery were greeted by a sensational floral display of epic proportions that was visible from almost anywhere in Trafalgar Square. A 35-square metre living painting was on display at the gallery’s West lawn made by using 26,430 fresh cut flowers, it was produced to celebrate Funnyhoflowersdothat.co.uk’s support of the Dutch Flowers exhibition at the National Gallery that was on until 29 August 2016.

The painting selected from the collection was a floral masterpiece by Dutch artist Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder - A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase (1609-10). The flowers in the Bosschaert’s arrangement (including liliestulips, roses, and carnations) are painted with almost scientific precision. The bouquet, however, is fiction: these flowers do not bloom at the same time, and would have been far too precious to cut for a temporary display. This is also the reason some flowers had to be substituted in the real floral installation.

The larger-than-life art installation stood 6.2 metres tall by 4.6 metres wide, the living painting dwarfed the 68.6cm by 50.7cm original canvas and was a combined effort of almost 30 florists over 2 days using seasonal flowers featured in the Flower Agenda on Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk.


The floral masterpiece was on display outside the National Gallery from Thursday 2nd until Monday 6th June and was a feat of nature as well as engineering:

  • The structure weighed 1,815 kilograms
  • It was made using 100 blocks of Oasis florist’s foam with 26,430 stems of 26 different varieties. 37 different colours were used to create depth and shading
  • The large structure had a built-in water irrigation system to keep the blooms fresh
  • Flowers being used included 6 tulip varieties, 4 varieties of peonies, 3 varieties of carnations, 6 varieties of freesias, 6 varieties of calla lily, and 5 varieties of roses
  • Over the course of the five days, the flowers were replenished twice bringing the total number of blooms to 52,950
  • The complete installation stood 2 metres from the ground which brought the total height to 8.2 metres; about same height as two average London double decker busses


Painted in 16-09-1610 by Ambrosius Brosschaert the Elder, A Still-Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase depicts a vast selection of blooms including lilies, tulips, roses, and carnations. The artist took regular inspiration from botanical illustrations and the flowers in his painting are depicted with incredibly lifelike realism. His painting is a masterful play on real and still life, context, composition, and creativity.

Chanel de Kock, UK Marketing Manager from Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk said “We are excited to be working with the National Gallery for this very special display as we both bring joy and inspiration through beauty. Artistic representations of flowers have been a central theme in the history of art, with the blooms in those paintings becoming iconic and timeless in their own right. We want visitors to look at flowers more closely, almost the same way these master painters did. People visiting the Gallery from the UK and around the world will be able to see these paintings brought together in one room, and also have the chance to experience a very special kind of bouquet.”

Betsy Wieseman from the National Gallery added, “Our Dutch Flowers exhibit presents an overview of works by every major figure in the genre, including Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, Jan van Huysum, and Rachel Ruysch, providing visitors a chance to admire their stylistic and technical characteristics, and the exquisite detail of their paintings. Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk are the ideal sponsor for this display and  they have chosen the perfect painting to be brought to life with the beauty of real cut flowers.”

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A full list of flowers featuring in the Floral Masterpiece:

  • Lily – Lilium Longiflorum
  • Tulip - White
  • Tulip - Yellow
  • Tulip - Red
  • Tulip – Cream
  • Tulip - Pink
  • Tulip - Deep orange / red (PINSES IRENE)
  • Peony - Pink - Sarah Bernhard
  • Peony –Cerise
  • Peony  -Dark pink
  • Peony - White
  • Carnations - Dark pink
  • Carnations - Pink and White striped
  • Dianthus Tros – Scarlett brown
  • Freesia - Double yellow
  • Freesias – Purple Rain
  • Freesias – Double orange
  • Freesias – Pale yellow
  • Freesias - Cassis
  • Freesias - White
  • Allium Purple Sensation
  • Alstroemeria Virginia
  • Cornflowers -Blue
  • Nigella -Blue
  • Chrysanthemum - Astro Margolis (gold)
  • Chrysanthemum - Barca brown
  • Roses - Sweet Avalanche
  • Spray rose – Deep pink Lianne
  • Roses - Peach Avalanche
  • Roses - Miss Piggy
  • Spray Rose – pale peach Jana
  • Calla lily – small, black
  • Echinacea bumble bee
  • Calla lily, Deep pink
  • Calla lily, Deep red
  • Calla lily, Mango
  • Scabious Stellata, Brown
  •  Orion Thistle






























































NOTE:  All flowers listed were correct at time of writing this release.


About Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk

Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland that supports all areas of the cut flower industry, from growers to florists by educating, inspiring and encouraging consumers to use cut flowers differently. It does this through various campaigns such as the Flower Agenda, which champions a different cut flower every four weeks, through to its website and social media content.


About the National Gallery

The National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world.

Located in London's Trafalgar Square, the Gallery is free to visit and open 361 days a year.

The National Gallery Collection comprises over 2,300 paintings in the Western European tradition from late medieval times to the early 20th century by artists including Botticelli, Leonardo, Titian, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Monet, and Van Gogh.

The Gallery is also a world centre of excellence for the scientific study, art historical research, and care of paintings from this period.

More at nationalgallery.org.uk


A special thank you to all our suppliers who worked on this project:




About Heemskerk Flowers
Preferred supplier of the Flower Council UK and Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk projects, flowers for this project was sourced by Heemskerk Flowers. They are one of the largest exporters of flowers and plants in the Netherlands. Their dedicated team consists of over 250 people combined with our state-of-the-art communications, logistical know-how, professional expertise and involvement.
More at heemskerkflowers.com

About PressOn UK
PressOn UK were involved in the complex printing part of this project, from printing on waterproof materials the florists could pierce with flower stems, to the canvas areas that will withstand weather elements of this installation. They are one of the UK’s leading large format digital printers specialising in the production of high quality digital print for both indoor and outdoor advertising purposes.
More at Presson.co.uk

About Oasis Floral Products
Oasis kindly donated  total of 120 blocks (including the trial test) of florist foam, 61 x 61cm in size for this project. 
Purpose at Smithers-Oasis is to help people express and experience emotion by adding value to flowers and plants. Their mission is to make OASIS® Branded Floral Foam and OASIS® Floral Products the preferred choice of florists and floral designers. Dedicated to advancing the art and science of floriculture through development of innovative and sustainable products. Their goal is to make a positive impact on our employees, customers and communities and lead through responsible management by applying socially sustainable practices in all we do.
More at oasisfloral.co.uk

About Tandem Set and Scenery
Tandem Set and Scenery has been involved in the design, build and engineering of the structure and frame of this installation to withhold a weight of 1,815 kilograms.
More at tandemsetandscenery.com