apple, Apple Day, October 21, 2007, Common Ground, Word & Image Department, apples, decorative motif
'The Fool, A is for Apple', poster, 1967. Museum no. E.277-2002
The Fool, A is for Apple
Museum no. E.277-2002
Purchased through the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund
The Fool was a Dutch collective of designers, painters and musicians (Simon Posthuma, Marijke Koger, Barry Finch and Josje Leeger) who, in 1967, were part of the Beatles entourage. The collective had painted a John Lennon piano and a George Harrison guitar in psychedelic designs. In 1967 it was given the task of designing and stocking the Apple Boutique, a shop on Baker Street in central London set up by the Beatles and a part of their Apple Group. The Apple Boutique was open for less than a year, from 1967 to 1968, after losing money on the outlandish designs they sold.
This poster was designed by the Fool for the Boutique. The psychedelic imagery encapsulates the visual language associated with this period in popular culture with its acid-inspired visions.
C.F.A. Voysey, 'In my Orchard', design for a nursery textile or wallpaper, 1929. Museum no. E.333-1974
C.F.A. Voysey (1857-1941)
'In my Orchard', design for a nursery textile or wallpaper
Process engraving coloured by hand
Museum no. E.333-1974
Charles Voysey was a prolific designer of wallpapers and textiles, many in Art Nouveau style but clearly influenced by Morris's principles of pattern design and use of plant forms and birds. However in an interview with 'The Studio' in 1893 (Vol.I , 1893, p.233), Voysey claimed that with good furniture 'a very simple or quite undecorated treatment of the walls would be preferable' and that wood panelling, polished, stained or painted, was a better wall covering than paper. Nevertheless the house he built for his father two years later was decorated with Voysey wallpapers and there is photographic evidence to show that he also used them in his own house, The Orchard.
'Antelope Dish', William de Morgan, 1880-1885. Museum no. 832-1905
William de Morgan (1839-1917)
Earthenware painted in ruby and yellow lustres
Museum no. 832-1905
This dish is one of the most celebrated of de Morgan's ceramics. Like all of his production other than tiles, it was made for show rather than for use. Although de Morgan returned to this image many times, and the dish itself was made in Staffordshire, it is a unique work. He bought the dish in as a blank and it was decorated and then re-fired at his own workshop. The plain, rimless shape was especially suitable for elaborate pictorial decoration such as this.
William de Morgan was a friend of William Morris, and designed stained glass and tiles for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. By 1873 he was running his own successful business.
Snuff box, unknown, 1765-1775. Museum no. C.470-1914
West Midlands, England
Enamelled copper with chased gilt-metal mounts
Museum no. C.470-1914
This box was almost certainly a portable container for snuff. Snuff was formed from feremented tobacco mixed with various combinations of perfumed oils, herbs or spices into a compressed block, which was then grated to make a fine powder ready for inhalation. English painted enamel boxes with hinges linking lids to bases were a phenomenon of the 1740s.
The hinged enamel box came about because there was a demand for boxes which could be held open in one hand while taking a pinch of snuff with the other. The fashion for snuff-taking was at its height in the 18th century. Each panel of this box is deftly painted with groups of fruit and vegetables.
Ceramic plaque of a goatherd and goat, William Stephen Coleman, 1870-1875. Museum no. Circ.207-1965
Ceramic plaque of a goatherd and goat
William Stephen Coleman (1829-1904)
Made by Minton, Stoke-on-Trent
Earthenware, painted in enamel colours
Museum no. Circ.207-1965
This painted earthenware plaque showing a goatherd restraining his charge from eating apples, was designed and decorated by William Stephen Coleman, the director of Minton's Art Pottery Studio in Kensington, London. The Studio had been set up in 1871 by Colin Minton Campbell of the Minton factory in Stoke-on-Trent, using the talents of the Royal School of Art to assist a small group of ceramic artists from Stoke in painting tiles and large dishes. In 1875 the Studio was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt.
Embroidered panel, unknown, 1640-1680. Museum no. Circ.468-1925
Embroidered panel, probably for a casket
Silk-satin embroidered in silk and metal thread
Museum no. Circ.468-1925
This panel was probably intended for a casket. Decorated caskets were used by girls in the 17th century for storing small personal possessions. They were fitted inside with compartments, suitable for keeping jewellery, cosmetics, writing equipment and letters, needlework tools, tiny toys or keepsakes. They often had mirrors set into the lids, for dressing, and sometimes had secret drawers for particularly precious possessions.
The panel shows a female figure representing Taste, one of the Senses, reaching for apples from the basket at her feet. The most popular subjects for embroidered pictures and panels like these were scenes from the Old Testament and classical mythology, or the representation in human form of the Elements and the Seasons, the Virtues and the Senses. Figures might be copied directly from their original pictorial sources, but were often updated with fashionable clothes and hairstyles.
Dish or charger showing the Tree of Knowledge, John Pearson, 1890. Museum no. M.20-1976
Dish or charger showing the Tree of Knowledge
John Pearson (active 1885-1910)
Museum no. M.20-1976
This salver is decorated in the centre with an apple tree encircled by a serpent. Below the tree in Greek characters is the inscription 'The Tree of Knowledge'.
John Pearson was the first metalworker of the Guild of Handicraft founded by C.R. Ashbee at Toynbee Hall in the east end of London in 1888. Pearson was a skilled craftsman and designer, specializing in decorative repoussé work (the design on the front is shaped from the reverse side). Pearson finally left the Guild in 1891 to work on his own, having already once been dismissed and re-instated to the Guild for working for William Morris in his spare time.
Peg tankard, Hans Nieman the Elder, about 1680. Museum no. M.488-1910
Hans Nieman the Elder (born about 1630, working 1679-1721)
Engraved silver and parcel gilt
Museum no. M.488-1910
This tankard is exquisitely engraved with apple trees, tulips, roses, exotic birds and the figures of a man and a young child. Decoration inspired by botanical drawings was very popular throughout Europe in the late 17th century. Tankards like this were marked inside with a series of pegs and would have been filled with wine or beer and passed around, each person having to drink until the next peg was showing.
Given the size of the tankard and each measure, it would have made it a challenge to stay sober. It might have been a christening present for Olle Jensson Bruun, the name inscribed on it. The origin of the phrase 'to take someone down a peg' apparently comes from peg tankards, in other words rudely drinking beyond one's measure.
Embroidered cushion cover, unknown, about 1600. Museum no. T.79-1946
Embroidered cushion cover
Canvaswork applied to silk satin
Museum no. T.79-1946
In the 17th century the majority of wooden chairs and stools were not upholstered, and in more prosperous homes, decorated cushions were widely used both for comfort and for the attractiveness of their appearance. Long cushion covers like this were specifically made to fit wooden benches.
It is possible that this cushion was worked in a household rather than a professional workshop. More than one woman or young girl might have been involved in making the separate motifs, which were then applied to the silk ground. These individual motifs were known as slips, like the plant cuttings taken by gardeners. Such household furnishings often depicted scenes from rural life, and as well as the noblemen shown here hunting with hawks, we can also see gardeners at their work, gathering fruit and training vines in an orchard of apples, cherries and quinces.