Flora Danica in its elements at Utstein

The revered Flora Danica is now at Utstein

On June 7th. the Exhibition opened that confirms that four of the plants that grow at Utstein monastery are illustrated on one of the world’s most expensive dinner services.

Working closely together with Stavanger Art Museum, Utstein monastery arranged a seminar where we focussed on plant life in art and cultural history. After the seminar the Exhibition was opened, to the amazement of the seminar participants. Peter Wagner, lektor emeritus at Det Kongelige Bibliotek (the Royal Library) in Copenhagen, is one of the foremost world experts on the history of Flora Danica, a work with hand-coloured copperplate illustrations about the wild flowers of Denmark and Norway, which was begun in 1761. He was present both as lecturer and at the opening of the Exhibition. Jim Endersby and Anne-Cathrine Scheen also presented lectures at the seminar.

One of the Museum’s hosts, Trond Bø, has for many years had a dream of mounting an Exhibition about Flora Danica at Utstein monastery. And now it has happened. The service is on loan from Royal Copenhagen. Visitors can more closely examine the service and other details in the exhibition cases. Pure gold.

- There is a genuine history and connection between Utstein monastery and Flora Danica.

Bø was well aware that four plants from Utstein were included in the Flora Danica dinner service. They are Common Eelgrass (Zostera marina), Slender St. John’s-wort (Hypericum pulchrum), English Stonecrop (Sedum anglicum) and Wood Bitter-vetch. In 1758 the royal Danish botanist Georg Christian Oder and his illustrator travelled to the monastery garden to study the local plant life and submit a report about the innovative way in which the farm was managed.

- Just think that in 1758 that Danish botanist sent a report to the king in Copenhagen, about conditions here, how advanced the monastery was in agriculture, and how plants were cultivated. He was very impressed. It’s fantastic!

Now visitors can be tempted by the history and the Exhibition at Utstein monastery in the months ahead.