PressOn UK, A Leading Large Format Printing Company, Helps Client Create 35 sq m Living Painting Using Print and 26,500 Real Flowers at The National Gallery, London

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PressOn UK helped their client, The Flower Council of Holland, produce a giant "Living Painting" at The National Gallery, London. Using their expertise in large format print, PressOn UK was instrumental in the giant artwork's creation.


PressOn helped their client, the Flower Council of Holland, create a giant 35 square metre installation described as a “living painting” using digital print and 26,500 real flowers. The work was commissioned to celebrate the support of, an initiative of the Flower Council for the Dutch Flowers exhibition at the National Gallery that runs until 29 August 2016.

The artwork was erected outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London on 2 June 2016

PressOn were approached by Chanel de Kock, UK Marketing Manager for the Flower Council of Holland, in early May to help. It was a challenging request - to create a 6.2 metres tall by 4.6 metres wide piece of digital print that when covered with real flowers, would recreate a Dutch Master painting by artist Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. The painting is entitled ‘A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase’ (1609-10).

Nigel Webster, joint MD of PressOn explained the technical aspects of the project. “We needed to create a printed template that would sit on floristry foam to act as a guide for the florists adding the real flowers. Our initial thought was to use a paper that could be pulled out once the flowers were added, so we tested one that would easily disintegrate when very wet. The timing of the disintegration was too unpredictable though for us to guarantee the print would stay intact for long enough so the florists could see the painting.

Finally we settled on wet strength blueback paper, printed with HP Latex inks on our HPLX3500. We made around 30,000 slits using our Kongsberg XP Cutter to enable the flowers to be added. Once held vertically, the paper held water inside the floristry foam longer than anticipated, which was great news. We printed 12 sections in total to wrap the floristry foam. Another section of the painting that was not covered in flowers was printed on canvas to help withstand the weather and then added over the top of the other covered sections. I went to see the finished work and it was just breath taking.”

Almost 30 florists teamed up to create the fresh flower masterpiece, many of whom were volunteers recruited at the Chelsea Flowers Show. The teams worked through the night in a London studio to create the masterpiece.

Chanel de Kock of the Flower Council of Holland added, “I’d like to thank PressOn for their great work, their relentless attention to detail and dedication that helped us complete this very successful project. People visiting the Gallery from the UK and around the world will be able to see these paintings brought together in one room, and also have the chance to experience a very special kind of bouquet.”

Additional Information

  • 26,430 stems of 26 different varieties of flowers were featured, and 37 different colours were used to create depth and shading, including six tulip varieties, four varieties of peonies, three varieties of carnations, six varieties of freesias, six varieties of calla lily, and five varieties of roses
  • The large structure had a built-in water irrigation system to keep the blooms fresh, and over the course of five days, the flowers were replenished twice bringing the total number of blooms to 52,950
  • The structure weighed 1,815 kilograms
  • It is made using 100 blocks of florist’s foam
  • The complete installation stands 8.2 metres from the ground; about the same height as two average London double decker busses.

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About PressOn

PressOn are a leading large format digital printer based in Chatham, Kent, UK, established in 2000 by Andy Wilson and Nigel Webster. They now employ 26 people and have a turnover of c. £3m. PressOn recently won two awards at the international print show, FESPA 2015, a Gold award and the People’s Choice award for their project, Dazzle Ship. At FESPA 2015 they also purchased the first HP LX 3500 latex printer.
Twitter @PressOnUK

About is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland that supports all areas of the cut flower industry, from growers to florists by educating, inspiring and encouraging consumers to use cut flowers differently. It does this through various campaigns such as the Flower Agenda, which champions a different cut flower every four weeks, through to its website and social media content.

About the Flower Council of Holland
The Flower Council of Holland is responsible for the promotion of flowers and plants to consumers in various European countries. In the United Kingdom, we do this using the brands and, amongst others.

About the National Gallery

The National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world.

Located in London's Trafalgar Square, the Gallery is free to visit and open 361 days a year.

The National Gallery Collection comprises over 2,300 paintings in the Western European tradition from late medieval times to the early 20th century by artists including Botticelli, Leonardo, Titian, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Monet, and Van Gogh.

The Gallery is also a world centre of excellence for the scientific study, art historical research, and care of paintings from this period.

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Shelley Nye
since: 11/2012
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