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.


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An illustration of an acanthus spinosus‘ purple blooms and glossy dark-green leaves. Image via Desert-Tropicals.

Author: Sarah Sarna

Interior Designer and Editor helping intelligent women unlock their style and own it, à la: decorating, fashion, beauty, and beyond.

  • Thanks – it’s almost complete and looking great – I’ll post images when it’s been professionally shot – the client has to buy the books first!

  • Hi Andrew, Thanks for the link – what an absolutely gorgeous library!!

  • Great blog – we have some images of acanthus laves being hand carved for a baroque library – in all 130 acanthus leaves were hand carved and water-gilded for this project (click on my name to view).

  • The Acanthus Leaf is a perennial favorite of mine. Great post! I enjoyed the Surface Fragments series as well — he has one of my fave blogs. Look forward to more of your blog (already subscribed!). 🙂