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Artichoke fireplace at William Morris's Kelmscott Manor
William Morris Blue Artichoke Tile
A house that I love with a reasonable love I think: for though my words may give you no idea of any special charm about it, yet I assure you that the charm is there; so much has the old house grown up out of the soil and the lives of those that lived on it: some thin thread of tradition, a half-anxious sense of the delight of meadow and acre and wood and river; a certain amount (not too much let us hope) of common sense, a liking for making material serve one's turn, and perhaps at bottom some little grain of sentiment... ~William Morris
The artichoke was designed by William Morris and made by William De Morgan for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co.
The artichoke has a history in folklore as an aphrodisiac. While visiting his brother Poseidon on a small Aegean island, Zeus came upon a stunningly beautiful young woman named Cynara. Falling head over heels, as he often did, he transformed Cynara into a goddess and brought her to Olympus, that they might cavort when his wife Hera was away. Cynara soon found life tedious as an Olympian mistress. She missed her mother and one night, she stole away in hopes of visiting her mother. Upon her return, Zeus discovered Cynara's absence and flew into a rage. Flinging Cynara from the heavens, she was transformed once again, no longer a goddess but now an artichoke, a beautiful but thorny and inaccessible thistle.
In the middle ages, only men were permitted to eat artichokes because of their power as an aphrodisiac. By the 16th century, Catherine de Medici rebelled against that tradition, bringing artichokes with her from Italy to France in celebration of her marriage to King Henry II.
The artichoke capital of the world is in Castroville, California, where you can get artichoke ice cream, a suprisingly good dessert.Title: De Morgan Artichoke
Single Tile: 4.25 inches and 6 inches
Availability: Artichoke can be shipped fairly quickly, usually within a week to ten days.
4.25 inch square tiles: $44 each
6 inch square tiles: $53 each
It is always allowable to ask for artichoke jelly with your boiled venison; however there are houses where this is not supplied. ~Lewis Carroll
The artichoke was a popular theme. At Merton Abbey, William Morris produced an embroidered artichoke panel and John Henry Dearle designed an artichoke wallpaper for Morris and Co.
See more William Morris textile designs
Complementary tiles for Artichoke include: