Chiswick House Camellia Festival 2013: Press Preview

Peter Blake, Britain's best-loved artist, was the special guest at the press preview of the third annual Chiswick House Camellia Festival, on Thursday 14 February. The festival itself opens on Saturday 16 February and is marked by the publication of a specially created limited edition print by Sir Peter which will be on sale during the festival.

Camellias are known as the Queen of Winter Flowers. Their rarity and astonishing colours ranging from pure white through pinks, reds and variegated stripes, have made them highly prized by collectors and create a splash of vibrant colour in a winter landscape.

Chiswick's collection is widely regarded as one of the finest in the country and certainly the oldest in the West. Many of the plants are descended from the original planting in 1828. By the 1840s, the camellia was at the height of its fashion as the luxury flower. The Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis, who died young in 1847 inspired Dumas' La Dame aux Camélias and Verdi's La Traviata. Famously, the white camellia was Coco Chanel's favourite flower, adored for its regular perfection and classical order of its pure white petals, which became her emblem.

This years festival celebrates these beautiful blooms in the setting of the spectacular Chiswick House Conservatory, created 200 years ago for the 6th Duke of Devonshire in 1813.

Chiswick House Camellia Festival 2013
Dates: 16 February -17 March 2013
For details of tickets and opening hours see link on right.

Peter Blake at the launch of the 2013 Chiswick Camellia Festival
Sir Peter Blake at the press preview of the Chiswick House Camellia Festival 2013
Credit: Anna Kunst

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