Dressed in Blue

A love song, and tribute to the beautiful little flower, it’s continuing endurance throughout history, and the unusual but traditional way of displaying it, on an Auricula Theatre. As is the way with flowers they don’t last long. But they come back again. We discover more beautiful varieties every year.

She’s my beautiful flower
I’ll be her sun and her rain
What colour will she wear
When she comes back again?

Behind the veil
I can see her glow
What colour will she wear
When it’s time to show?

When April’s flowers
Stand tall and proud in line
You raise the curtain
I see you shine
You raise the curtain
I see you shine!

I was dressed in blue
When I married you
I wore your flowers in my hair
And kept your love in my pocket

On a beautiful day
At the end of May
My heart leapt out to you
My wild-fire-rocket

My heart leapt out to you!

So take it slow
Sing it long and low
What colour will she wear
When it’s time to go?

© 2012 Lou Duffy-Howard
Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard

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Chapter 2 Into the Sun

My Ancestors were French…a tale inspired by the 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, exploring the significance of ancestry and identity, drawing on the influences of the first refugees to come to England in the 16th Century – the Huguenot people…

Fleet Street cropChapter Two – Into the Sun

Here begins Valentina’s tale. Young lovers, Valentina and Raoul separate when she escapes persecution and comes to England as a refugee. Valentina boards a boat for the East Coast of England, leaving her lover behind to an uncertain fate, possibly death. She brings Primula auricula flower seeds and the skills to grow the little flowers here as a reminder of home. The Huguenot people were skilled artisans and were well accepted in their new land. Although Valentina misses her loved ones she is relieved to be travelling over the sea into the unknown and a new life. Valentina says she’ll never forget Raoul…but as is often the case, madness and the wind are blowing over the sea…

Chapter 1 Kings and Weavers

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.

A huguenot
A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day

“They wrap each other up, but also pull in opposite directions” S.P Casteras

© 2012 Duffy-Howard