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...everything made by man's hands has a form, which must be either beautiful or ugly; beautiful if it is in accord with Nature, and helps her; ugly if it is discordant with Nature, and thwarts her; it cannot be indifferent. ~William Morris
These tiles bring together the rich mythology of hares and the Victorian fascination with botanicals and floriography (the language of flowers), a means of communication through the way flowers are used and by decrypting their meaning. Coded messages were sent with flowers, expressing feelings that could not be spoken in Victorian society. Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Brontes, and Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden) employed the language of flowers in their writings.
The Pre-Raphaelites, Morris's contemporaries, aimed to revive the artistic values of the late medieval period, making many visual references to literature and mythology.
Hares are a symbol of Spring and fertility, but also of purity. The hare is associated with moonlight. In many Eastern cultures, the Man is the Moon is the Hare in the Moon where the Hare mixes the elixir of immortality. In some cultures, the Hare acts as Mercury, a bearer of messages from the Goddess. Freya, the Norse goddess of Love is served by hare attendants. She travels with a sacred hare beside her in a chariot drawn by cats. And Ostara, the Anglo-Saxon moon goddess whose feast coincides with Easter, was often shown with a hare's head or ears, a hare who laid brightly colored eggs that were given to children during Spring festivals.
The hare is also a trickster. The famous Br'er Rabbit story of the American Soul is a mixture of African hare stories that arrived on slave slips and mixed with the rabbit tales of Native American tribes, such as the Cherokee. In these tales, the Hare wins out against overwhelming odds through his quick wit and superior intelligence.
The larger hare tiles are based on hares by Albrecht Durer (1502) and Hans Hoffman (1582), who based his hare on Albrecht Durer hare, even leaving Durer's mark. The tell is that he changed the date and the date was after Durer's death. The leaping hare is based on a nineteenth century French taxonomical print.
Harebells is the Scottish term for bluebells, as they grow in fields where hares roam. Harebells are the favorite flower of faeries, making them particularly dangerous. The fae may whisk away a child alone in a bluebell wood and adults might wander lost for days or years. Love potions are made of harebell blossoms. A wreath of harebells will compel the wearer to tell the truth about his or her affections. The Latin man is Endymion, the lover of the moon Goddess, Selene.
In medieval herbology, bluebells were said to prevent nightmares and used as a remedy for spider-bites, among other things. Bluebells are poisonous, however. The harebell tiles are based on Victorian botanical prints.
Set: 6 tiles, to be added to
Size: 4.25 and 6 inch tiles
4.25 inch square tiles: $42 each
6 inch square tiles: $51 each
Copyright information: Images of tile products on this website are ©William Morris Tile, LLC. They are derivative works requiring considerable creative effort. You are welcome to use the images, with attribution, for any non-commercial purpose, including displaying them on your blog or personal website. You may not use them for any commercial purpose without written permission, including but not limited to creating counted cross-stitch patterns, calendars, or any other commercial purpose. Contact me for images.