Words by Jessica Peace
Right back to the Romans and the Greeks, the floppy, unfurling leaf of the acanthus has been chiselled into pillars using pure braun and muscle since the beginning of civilisation as we - and Mary Beard know it.
All the Medieval rage, the acanthus lined many a page of manuscript and prayer book.
It got the Baroque revamp in the seventeenth century when it was dipped in gold and splashed over furnishings during the catholic backlash against protestant austerity.
William Morris, our Victorian plant hero, always with his head in a Medieval cloud brought back the acanthus in his designs for Morris & co.
Oh Blighty with your lovely red post boxes - peep over the top one of the old John Penfold pillar boxes and you’ll find the acanthus leaf; originally made in the late 1800’s, 100 replicas were made in the 1980’s.