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The Hidden Geometry of Flowers

Living Rhythms, Form, and Number

November 2011
More details
  • Publisher
    Floris Books
  • Published
    2nd November 2011
  • ISBN 9780863158063
  • Language English
  • Pages 448 pp.

Can we imagine a world without flowers? Their beauty offers us delight in their color, fragrance, and form, and their substance offers medicinal benefits. Flowers also speak to us in the language of the plant’s form, provide cultural symbols in different cultures, and, at the highest levels, offer inspiration.

In this beautiful and original book, renowned thinker and geometrist Keith Critchlow focuses on an aspect of flowers that has received the least attention. The flower becomes a teacher of symmetry and geometry (the “eternal verities,” as Plato called them). In this sense, Critchlow tells us, we can treat flowers as sources of remembering—ways of recalling our own wholeness, as well as awakening our inner power of recognition and consciousness. What is evident in the geometry of a flower’s face can remind us of the geometry that underlies all existence.

Working from his own flower photographs and with every geometric pattern hand-drawn, the author reviews the role of flowers from the perspective of our interrelationship with the natural world. His illuminating study attempts to re-engage the human spirit in its intimate relation with all nature.

Keith Critchlow

Prof. Keith Critchlow (1933–2020) was a well-known lecturer and author and a founding member of Research Into Lost Knowledge Organization (RILKO), a founding member and Director of Studies of Kairos, and a founding member and President of the Temenos Academy. He was Professor Emeritus and founder of the Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts Programme at the Royal College of Art, now the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. Trained as a painter, Critchlow discovered geometry intuitively. A period of intensive geometric practice (and work with Buckminster Fuller) led him to the recognition that the universal principles of geometry are revealed and confirmed both by the area of design where art and mathematics meet and in the study of nature and ancient and medieval sacred cosmological stone, temple, cathedral, and mosque architectures. Keith Critchlow had been a senior lecturer at the Architectural Association in London, and taught Islamic Art at the Royal College of Art. He also participated as geometer in various sacred architectural projects. His books include Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach (1999); Time Stands Still: New Light on Megalithic Science (2007); and The Hidden Geometry of Flowers: Living Rhythms, Form, and Number (2011).