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Discussing: Niphredil - what does it look like?

Niphredil - what does it look like?

niphredil references

"the pale niphredil."

"the white flowers of niphredil came forth"

"nodding on slender stalks, were other flowers, white and palest green: they glimmered as a mist amid the rich hue of the grass."

Ok, it's white and pale green, has slender stem, flower heads presumably relatively large-ish because they nod. Do we know anything else about it? Can I make up whatever I please about the number of petals and what they actually look like, or is there some canon reference I'm missing?  Thanks.

 
Gwynnyd 

 

 

Re: Niphredil - what does it look like?

Hi Gwynnyd!

I searched all of HoME and Letters for you. In the HoME Index, nifredil (I presume the original spelling) is translated as 'snowdrop'.

Here are a couple more snippets:

the little white niphredil

the white flowers of niphredil came forth to greet her, as stars from the earth.

I would interpret 'Stars from the earth' to imply that possibly there are not many petals, so they are widely-spaced.

By the way, in Letter 187, Tolkien exclaims that (among other things) botanists will want details of all his invented flowers... so, I guess that makes you a botanist.

Ah, Eureka! This is too good to miss:

"I have greatly enjoyed the Cape Flower Book.* Quite fascinating in itself and in its general botanical and indeed paleo-implications. I have not seen anything that immediately recalls niphredil or elanor or alfirin; but that I think is because those imagined flowers are lit by a light that would not be seen ever in a growing plant and cannot be recaptured by paint. Lit by that light, niphredil would be simply a delicate kin of a snowdrop; and elanor a pimpernel (perhaps a little enlarged) growing sun-golden flowers and star-silver ones on the same plant, and sometimes the two combined. Alfirin ('immortal') would be an immortelle, but not dry and papery: simply a beautiful bell-like flower, running through many colours, but soft and gentle."

* Wild Flowers of the Cape Peninsula, by Mary Maytham Kidd, Oxford University Press, 1950

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 312 to Amy Ronald, 16 November 1969

So, that's a little bit more, but I think that's about all that exists....

HTH!
- Barbara

 

 

Re: Niphredil - what does it look like?

I don't have the time to begin making a "book" about the herbs and plants of Middle-earth.

I don't even have the time to make icons for this.

Why did I ever even LOOK at this message?

*off to find flower pictures and drawings*

~Juno 

 

 

Re: Niphredil - what does it look like?

Here's a snow drop in the "Camerarius Florilegium" from the 16th century:

Snowdrop (bottom, left)

Here is a book about flowers from the 17th century:

"TABERNAEMONTANUS"

(You need "Pflanzen A-Z" and then "Schneeglöckchen")

Here's a list of medieval herbals in the Bodleian Library:

Bodleian 

Ummm... 

*huggles research nuzgûl*

~Juno 

 

 

Re: Niphredil - what does it look like?

Drat!

I was hoping for something with more petals for use as a random choice generator.  Oh well, I can make it do!

Thank you!

 
Gwynnyd 

 

 

Re: Niphredil - what does it look like?

Here's a snow drop in the "Camerarius Florilegium" from the 16th century:

Ah, Juno, these are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you!

And also thank you for posting the links, and not the images.... it makes it so much easier for those with slower internet connections....

*huggles research nuzgûl*

Come into Lyllyn's parlor, said the giant (speaking!) spider to the fly.....

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Niphredil - what does it look like?

Gwynnyd, seach google images or something for Luthien's device and you'll end up finding two versions of it. Either one will work. The white flowers on her devices are Niphredil. At least that was how Tolkien imagined Niphredil to look like.

 

 

Re: Niphredil - what does it look like?

Gwynnyd, seach google images or something for Luthien's device and you'll end up finding two versions of it. Either one will work. The white flowers on her device  are Niphredil. At least that was how Tolkien imagined Niphredil to look like.

 

 

Re: Niphredil - what does it look like?

Hi Alquawende!

Yes, there is this heraldry site (links open in a new window): Emblems and Heraldry .

However, after seeing Tolkien's originals in JRR Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator I can tell you that, although the emblems on that site are apparently shaped correctly (the one or two that I checked), the colors are garish compared to Tolkien's originals.

My LiveJournal icon is one of Lúthen's devices, and the colors are as accurate as my scanner could make it. You can see it here: Elena Tiriel's Friends Page . If you compare it to the same emblem on that web site, you can see my concern about the coloration.

However, we know that niphredil is white, so the colors are not an issue with that particular flower. But the emblems are so stylized that it is hard to extrapolate much information from them.

- Barbara

 

 

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