18th Century Flower Sellers

Selling cut flowers

Why would people buy flowers from a peddler on the street? Many of these flower sellers are selling small bunches of cut flowers as nosegays. These could be worn by women (Mary Little, a lady in a pink dress) or men (e.g. The City 'Prentice at his Master’s door, Buckles and Buttons), or just carried around (An Edinburgh auction, Ensign Rosebud reposing himself).

The Nosegay, a story from a 1797 children’s book, describes twin sisters who set off to the florist to buy themselves nosegays: “Fanny and Sophia were again invited to the houſe of a lady, whom, as Fanny regarded her as a perſon of grate taſte, ſhe was deſirous to pleaſe her by appearance. She put on all her little finery, but found that one thing was neceſſary to complete her dreſs, which was a Noſegay, and this ſhe was determined to buy when they reached the town … Fanny could talk of nothing but calling at the floriſt’s, and of the elegant Noſegay with which ſhe ſhould be adorned.”

Selling garden plants