My Ancestors were French…a tale inspired by the lovely little alpine flower, the Primula auricula and the story of how it came to be grown and displayed on Auricula Theatres here in England – a fascinating folk tale of love, loss and new beginnings.
There are seven musical chapters to the story.
Chapter One – Kings and Weavers
The Primula auricula is a little flower whose origins are in the Alps. Imagine how it will have been trampled underfoot by the Roman Legions travelling across the continent two thousand years ago. By the 16th century the auricula became a symbol of wealth and was grown in what is now France and Belgium by the first people to be known as ‘florists’ – The Huguenot people. They were also craftsmen and women, weavers and silk workers. It is believed to be the Huguenot people who made auricula growing popular in England when they came here as refugees from the French wars of religion in the 16th century.
‘Kings and Weavers’ introduces the young couple in our story, Valentina and Raoul. Although Valentina and Raoul are fictional, they represent many people fleeing persecution and making a new life in a new and strange land, even here, today. I imagine Valentina and Raoul are similar to the couple standing in the walled garden in Huguenot Victorian artist, John Everett Millais’ painting of a Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day.
“They wrap each other up, but also pull in opposite directions” S.P Casteras
© 2012 Duffy-Howard