It’s no coincidence that acanthus is the motif I used on all of my wedding stationery. Hailing from the eastern Mediterranean, acanthus spinosus is a bold perennial plant that blooms in June through July, with fleshy, scalloped leaves. From antiquity, the statuesque posture of its leaves has inspired wide-spread representation in every area of design and the decorative arts, from wall and ceiling mouldings to the crowns on Corinthian capitals. From the 18th Century onward it has been an iconic and incredibly popular motif in architecture, furniture, and metalwork.
An illustration of an acanthus spinosus‘ purple blooms and glossy dark-green leaves.
An example of an acanthus leaf motif on a Corinthian capital:
An example of an acanthus leaf as a wallpaper pattern:
Illustrations by engraver Jean le Pautre incorporating an acanthus spinosus motif:
For more images and information on the acanthus view Alan Carroll’s three-part series on the motif .
Images / Desert-Tropicals /Greek & Roman Art / Acanthus’ wallpaper designed by William Morris (1834-96), Printed by Jeffery & Co. for Morris & Co., c. 1875, via The Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Design / Surface Fragments, blog of Irish-born, NYC-based muralist Alan Carroll /
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