You had to go without a blog post last week as I was on holiday in Cornwall... but while there I came across something interesting.
You will often have seen the mention of "acanthus" shapes in neo-Classical porcelain design of the early 19th Century. It was a very popular detail in design, inspired by the Greek, Roman and Etruscan art that became fashionable at the time.
Acanthus is a plant that grows in the Mediterranean Basin and in Asia, and I had never seen a wild one in my life. The word acanthus comes from the Greek ἄκανθος (akanthos). And guess what, these plants also grow in Cornwall in England!
This has a reason: Cornwall has its own unique micro-climate. It is the very Southwestern tip of England, sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean. Millions of years ago it was connected to the South of France, and today you can still sense it: the climate is different from the rest of England, there is a wealth of unique rock formations, and the vegetation is different too.
So going back to the acanthus, what was the reason it became so popular in the early 1800s? Well, this was the time that British gentleman-archeologists did excavations in Southern Europe and brought back many treasures to England to be exhibited in the British Museum, which was especially opened for this purpose. Some call it "brought back", perhaps a better term is "looted"... be it what it may, today you can still find many beautiful objects from Greece, Italy and Turkey in this great museum in London. And many of them bear acanthus decorations.
Today I am showing you the acanthus that I came across in Cornwall, and some beautiful examples of acanthus details on English porcelain designs. And in the last picture of the slide show you can see me with another amazing plant that doesn't grow anywhere else in England: the Giant Viper's Bugloss... Jurassic Park in England! 😱🦖🦕
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Happy weekend, and see if you can spot an acanthus somewhere! 🌿🌿🌿
This week's new treasures: