Princess Grace Found a Creative Outlet in Pressed Floral Artwork

A look at the Monaco Princess’ pastime. Plus, an assortment of floral-based art she would surely appreciate today.

Flower collage with white phalaenopsis orchids from Ceylon, bougainvillaea and periwinkle (from My Book of Flowers, Princess Grace of Monaco).

With Spring visibly underway in many parts of the world, and as colorful blooms emerge from the ground, we celebrate the unique way in which Princess Grace assembled and magnified the beauty of flowers: through her remarkable pressed floral artwork.

Her collages were thoughtful in every respect, executed with care. It was a meditative process, in fact, as she wrote “It is not only that they eyes find pleasure in finishing the pressed flower picture, but just sliding the flowers not place bangs that same kind of tranquility as doing needlework, crocheting, or knitting” in My Book of Flowers, a 1980 publication showcasing some of her most stunning collages.

It is evident enough in the collages themselves, and she wrote explicitly that the arrangement of the flowers was critical to maintaining a “pristine formality,” a quality that could just as easily have described the Princess herself.

Grace was often inspired by the variety of flora outside the Palace, and she even claimed to carry a pair of scissors with her just in case she happened upon blooms suitable for her next collage. In 1977, a selection of her work was exhibited in Paris at the Galerie Drouant.

While the pressed flower arrangement is a creative pursuit that dates back centuries, it endures today in the worlds of art and design. Without searching far, one would discover just how varied botanical art is within itself, ranging in scale, format, and dimensionality. Here is a sampling of some of our favorite floral artistry today.

1. British artist Helen Ahpornsiri

incorporates pressed flowers and leaves to create highly detailed compositions depicting a variety of animals, birds, and insects.

2. Ignacio Canales Aracil, of Spain,

creates extraordinary (and delicate) vessel-like sculptures, using nothing but pressed flowers.

3. Oscar de la Renta

called upon pressed flower artist Tricia Paoluccio to press, arrange, and print the floral design of the stunning number she wore to the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. The design served as a basis for the hours and hours of hand embroidery that went into the making of her dress.

4. A Steinway & Sons piano,

covered in another one of Paoluccio’s unique floral designs, took center stage during her Highline exhibit earlier this year.

5. At another intersection of art and fashion, Makoto Azuma’s Iced Flowers

—that is, literally, flowers trapped in blocks of ice—lined the runways at Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2017 show.

6. Some public works have been created from, or adorned with, floral art.

Take Geoffrey Mottart’s tongue-in-cheek contribution to public statues, for example.

7. Or, marvel at this living artwork—

a still life painting constructed by the Flower Council of Holland out of more than twenty-six thousand real flowers.

8. A long-standing fixture at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Jeff Koons’ Puppy sculpture

stands at over forty feet tall, and is constructed from stainless steel, soil, and flowering plants.

Photo Credits: Guggenheim Bilbao,, Azuma Makoto, Danielle Wild, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy,,, Francis Apesteguy, Princess Grace Foundation-USA