Podcast 135: By Any Other Name with Simon Morley

This week’s guest in Simon Morley, a British artist and art historian. Simon is the author of several books on modern and contemporary art and is a keen rose gardener. Simon’s latest book was released a few weeks ago and is called ‘By Any Other Name: A Cultural History of the Rose’. During the interview I ask Simon about the cultural significance of roses throughout history, their symbolism, their origins and what how we use roses in gardens today says about us as a society.

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What we cover

  • Why the rose is a meme
  • Why the rose has been so enduringly beloved by humans
  • The origins of Valentine’s Day and why roses are intrinsically linked to it
  • Why roses in religious symbology fell out of favour during protestantism
  • Of all the concepts or beliefs that the rose signifies, which most resonates with Simon
  • Which nations were the most important players in the development of the rose varieties we know today?
  • Simon writes “aesthetic horticultural considerations were often coupled with a theoretical component, and the selection and arrangement of plants were determined by the botanical theory of the period, which in its turn reflected the way the world was perceived to be ordered”. What does Simon think the way we use roses today tell us about how we perceive the world to be ordered?
  • The lack of a role for roses in movements such as rewilding and the new perennial movement
    About Simon Morley

Simon Morley is a British artist and art historian. He is the author of several books on modern and contemporary art, and has contributed reviews and essays to a number of publications. His artworks have been exhibited internationally. He is currently writing a new history of modern painting, to be published in 2023. Simon lives in France and South Korea, where he teaches at Dankook University. He is also a keen rose gardener.


By Any Other Name: A Cultural History of the Rose by Simon Morley – Oneworld Publications, 2021 https://uk.bookshop.org/a/8971/9780861540525

Simon’s website https://www.simonmorley-blog.com

Simon on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/morleypsimon/


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