Bask in purple bloom all year round


Paintings of jacarandas in bloom have become a popular and appealing subject for Brisbane artists, the most famous image of the jacaranda is R. Godfrey Rivers’s painting Under the jacaranda, which has achieved enormous popularity since it was painted and acquired by the Gallery in 1903. The image depicts Rivers and his wife Selina sitting in the shade of a large jacaranda tree, at that time a landmark in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens.

From October, streets and gardens are awash with the magnificent purple-blue blooms of jacarandas creating a colourful carpet of fallen flowers, so while Brisbane is in glorious bloom, we’ve rounded up our Under the jacaranda merchandise and some of our favourite jacaranda-hued finds from our QAGOMA Stores so you can continue to bask in springtime all year round.

In store

Left to right / 1000 piece Jigsaw Puzzle RRP $27.95 / Small Postcard RRP $1.50 / Magnet RRP $5.95 / Tote Bag lined with a durable water resistant fabric RRP 29.95 / Lens Cleaning Cloth RRP $6.95 / Large Postcard RRP $2.50 / Greeting Card Box Set containing 12 blank cards (6 cards of 2 images) and envelopes RRP $24.95 / Tea Towel (not illustrated) also available RRP $24.95 / Available in store with selected products online.

Left to right / Silk Floral Scarf RRP $39.95 / Frangipani (with goats milk and shea butter) Body Bar RRP $ 16.00 / Yippy Whippy Triple Star Earrings RRP $35.00 / Christina Brampti Metallic Ring RRP $55 / Kakadu Plum (and goats milk) Handcream (with shea butter and Argan oil) RRP $20.00 / Sonia Necklace handmade with glass beads and leather RRP $140.00 / Yippy Whippy Boing Earrings RRP $25.00 / Silk Floral Scarf RRP $39.95 / Available in store only

Left to right / Embroidered David Shrig (for Third Draw Down) Purse (‘I’m Preety’ on reverse) RRP $55.00 / S’well 500ml Insulated Water Bottle RRP $59.95 / Ucon Acrobatics Waterproof Hajo Backpack RRP $139.95 / Silk Floral Scarf RRP $39.95 / Stylus Pens RRP 24.95 – $39.95 / Signature Purple A5 Notebook (ruled) RRP $29.50 / Moleskin Notebook (plain) RRP $34.95 / Pocket Stapled Notebook (ruled) RRP $4.95  / Floyd Violet Folding Umbrella RRP $33.95 / Available in store only

Under the jacaranda

R. Godfrey Rivers, England/Australia 1858-1925 / Under the jacaranda 1903 / Oil on canvas / Purchased 1903 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

The first jacaranda

In the 1850s Queensland was sending wheat and grain to South America and on their return ships would unload at the Kangaroo Point cliffs wharfs and the first Superintendent of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Walter Hill, would row across the river and exchange seeds and plants. One of these visiting sea captains from South America gave Hill a jacaranda seed, which he planted at the rear of the Botanic Gardens in 1864, this is acknowledged as the first jacaranda tree grown in Australia.

The Brisbane Botanic Gardens, just established some nine years earlier in 1855, received plants and seeds from around the world and from other parts of Australia to test what could be cultivated in Queensland and Hill provided a regular report on the success and failures of these plantings. In 1870 he reported on the plantings, including Jacaranda Mimosifolia, the sub-tropical tree native to south-central South America. Of the trees, Hill noted, ‘All these are very beautiful when in blossom, and some already wear their honours, and all give goodly promise for the future’.

Little did Hill realise that the species would be established as a Brisbane icon, with jacaranda trees now growing in most suburbs, many of these older trees grown from the seed of this first jacaranda.

The Edward Street Entrance to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, with Jacaranda in Bloom, 1932 / Photograph courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

1  Maree Stanley ‘Jacaranda’ Queensland Historical Atlas

Shop online or onsite / View our store exclusives / Browse our Publications

The QAGOMA Store has three retail outlets — two at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) at each entrance, and also at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). Together they specialise in high-quality books on today’s most exciting, challenging and influential contemporary artists, designers, history and design. A sophisticated selection of design objects, contemporary art merchandise, gifts and a stunning range of jewellery by local, Australian and international designers with a handmade focus are also a highlight.