Nicola here. Today I’m looking at roses, literally out of my study window and also as a historical symbol. It’s that time of the year in the UK when the rose is in full bloom. It’s a sign of summer and the sight of roses growing around a cottage door (or window) is one of the quintessential images of an English country village.
The rose is also a symbol of a lot of other things: A red rose is for romance, of course, whilst innocence or purity is symbolized by the white rose, friendship with yellow roses and passion with orange. I’m currently writing a book set in the 15th century during the period known now as “The Wars of the Roses” although this term wasn’t coined until the 19th century. The red and white roses were of course said to be the rival emblems of the aristocratic houses of York and Lancaster. In Shakespeare's play Henry VI rival nobles plucked them from bushes in the Temple Gardens, as depicted in this painting by Henry Payne. The different roses are the perfect embodiment of the antagonism each side had for the other, with the thorns and the red for the blood spilled in the conflict.