Sunday, November 22, 2009

There's more to life than Bizarre & Disturbing 17th-century Woodcuts


In order to add lustre to Riddled, to burnish its FECK reputation with some BUGGERYBOLLOCKS refinement and decorum, Another Kiwi has kindly invited me to grace it with an occasional SODBUCKETS contribution.

Nevertheless, I am reluctant to let myself be typecast as someone who dwells on one or two obsessions, like trebuchets, or obscure woodcuts. In fact it was just a scratch from a splinter, not a cut at all. The label said it was a 'slippery elm' so I thought I wouldn't need SHUT UP SMUT

The painting above is "A Sick Child brought into the Temple of Aesculapius" by John William Waterhouse (1877). Pay particular attention to the offering over on the right, by the plinth, in the form of a bowl of fruit:

Of course you've seen the problem. It contains a pineapple. Pineapples are a Brazilian fruit, not known in the classical world. In fact they were only introduced into England in the early 19th century when the architects of the Lambeth Bridge (then under construction) offered a prize for the most interesting new fruit to place as a finial on the tops of the obelisks flanking the bridge. A host of explorers were inspired to set out and scour the world and bring back an agricultural tribute to the young Queen Victoria. The winner was a certain John Tradescant (who was named after the weed Tradescantia fluminensis or "Wandering willy", under circumstances that are quite a story in their own right, but I refuse to let myself be sidetracked). Photographic evidence here.

This means that the painting is a FORGERY.
When I informed its previous owners of this fact, they were mortified to have let themselves be taken in by such a transparent deception, and they allowed me to take it off their hands for a nominal sum of money, as long as I joined them in hushing up the story. Please don't bruit this around.

Normal disturbing-imagery service will be resumed as soon as possible.

31 comments:

Another Kiwi said...

Could not the pineapple have drifted across the ocean in the primeval search for new soil from which to sprout?
Thus Aesculapius, would have had it in the house as a talking point or fruit feature. "Look at that" people would say "what wondrous fruit is that , O healer". "Oh" Aesculapius would say carelessly "That old thing. My wife bought it in the Agora to use up some of our money. Now, what your son needs is leeches. That will be 50 drachma"
Boffo post, Smut.

M. Bouffant said...

A long way to go for a good story there. My lips are sealed, but that may just be a pine cone, or some clever classical baked good.

Smut Clyde said...

Figure A here illustrates exactly how the pine-cone was applied.

Could not the pineapple have drifted across the ocean
For that matter, it could have been carried by a couple of migratory swallows. Or by a phoenix. The phoenix -- as any fule kno -- is named after the Phoenix Palm, because every 500 years it builds a nest of palm fronds, which it then ignites so that the heat will hatch its egg. Or perhaps it's the other way around and the seeds of the phoenix palm will only germinate if heated in a fire of phoenix feathers. I tried testing this the other night on the way back from the pub, but the owners of the palm-tree in question became unreasonably agitated, so I had to leave in a hurry with the question unanswered. Be that as it may, an immortal but short-sighted bird could easily mistake a pineapple for a small palm tree and carry it back to Europe.

"Wingrat" says Capcha-word, but DO NOT LISTEN.

merc said...

Bruit knows what he wants, is he going to be getting any?
Line from tv ad for Bruit aftershave, circa 70's (written by Aesculapius /pasted that/).

wv;fitish, not entirely bad looking.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

So I understand from this tail that a group of fruit bats brought the pineapple to Jolly Ol' England.

New facts, everyday!
~

fish said...

While this is a perfectly reasonable conclusion SC, I am afraid you have misinterpreted the painting. It is clear that the child has spotted the supposed "pineapple" and is pointing at it and asking her mother what it is. The mother is of course mortified because this is her "marital aid" purchased from Frederick's of Hollywood, and forgetfully left in the fruit bowl after an evening of "creative play" with that handsome young servant boy they hired. Actually the scene is supposed to have taken place during the Victorian Era. The family is doing a little bit of kinky fantasy role playing.

So the painting is clearly not a fake. I will gladly take the woodcut off your hands for a nominal fee to hid the gross blunder you have made with the previous owner.

Substance McGravitas said...

Said fruit in fact arrived earlier in Europe via the Norwegian govenment which was hoping to raise the spirits of the Papegøye Norwegians, who were dwelling seaside in deep valleys and locked in dreadful darkness through much of the year. The plan was partially successful as the Norwegians to this day cackle at the idea of "pineappling for the fjords."

Jennifer said...

"Wingrat"

Upon which a batfly mkght live... a wingless, siteless batfly??

Another Kiwi said...

It's a bit hard to swallow the swallow story, let alone swallowing a pineapple. Which would give one a stomachache and force one to go to Aesculapius. Only to be told that he was too busy writing advertisements to see you. Shocked, your mother would exclaim, "How much does he get paid for all this. What's this Greek earn?"

merc said...

It's very obviously a stunt pineapple with the actual pineapple off promoting pineapple forward currency futures somewhere in Norway, with that crazy fruit bat, what's his name...The Mother was shocked to find that the pineapple was indeed a B.O.D however batteries were not included as Aesculapius was holding their invention until the proper patents had been cleared.

wv; disti, really awful Asti.

Smut Clyde said...

So I understand from this tail that a group of fruit bats brought the pineapple to Jolly Ol' England.

The history of salt is also involved.

Another Kiwi said...

The salted stunt pineapple trade has a rich and noble history linked to rise and fall of the battery operated Norwegians. There are no octopi involved, just so's we are clear.

Jennifer said...

The history of salt is also involved.

Smut Clyde is banned. I don't care if it's his own blog...

And so is AK for picking up on that thread...

merc said...

Good, it's high time for a banning. Now we need to concoct some elliptic reasoning...
wv; puric, Baldrick's angelic brother.

Another Kiwi said...

Ye can ban me boot ya canna tak ma freedom!!!

merc said...

It's already gone, the mob has spoken, you can still comment though, our tone will be sanctimonious. I speak for everyone when I say, you can improve yourself by merely reading us.
wv;chauts, feeling too lazy to attempt a wv meaning.

Jennifer said...

Ok... this mob removes former comments...

merc said...

Noooooooo was being funny, know AK really well, we banter like this all the time, damned interdoink...unless you're making a funny and I'm...oh noes, spiraling down now...( I was alluding to the real MO at another site).
wv;cregra, for longer lasting creg.

Another Kiwi said...

Yeah, no worries Jennifer.

merc said...

Humour, epic merc fail. Was excited about banter. The interdoink is serious these days.
wv; copoet, verse police

Another Kiwi said...

I wouldn't keep bantams in my computer, that's all I'm saying

Jennifer said...

Ok... I this felt like a banter place, but sometimes when a place feels familiar, but is new, it's easy to overstep...

However, I will not be held responsible for my behavior if the history of salt is thrown down again...

Have we discussed the possibility of the pineapple being the very first Kush?

merc said...

/faints with relief/

wv; noniz...I ain't going there.

Smut Clyde said...

Here in the NZ heartland, old mainframe computers are a common sight in the front sections of houses -- jacked up on blocks, in use as chicken coops. In the more elitist parts of the country, where Another Kiwi lives, they prefer to keep their chooks in stereolithography cabinets.

Smut Clyde said...

Have we discussed the possibility of the pineapple being the very first Kush?

Spiky.

Jennifer said...

Spiky, yes, but it would stay in place...

tigris said...

Maybe it's a durian, which means the fruity tale of late 19th century forgery foisted on the hapless former owners smells worse than custard forced through a sewer pipe. For shame, sir! I flay your last iguana at you, and cause your father to bite your face.

ckc (not kc) said...

...of course, everyone knowsTM that the pineapple is in fact a compound fruit (hence it's complex appearance), and moreover, a la Wikipedia, "another example is the fig" (of which I give not one).

Smut Clyde said...

The Doktorling Sonja has becomes strangely reluctant to accompany her parents to the hothouse at the Botanical Gardens.
"You see those bromeliads there?"
"Yes, Daddy, the pineapple is a bromeliad; I KNOW THAT."
[/explaining voice]

rise and fall of the battery operated Norwegians
Now I have a mental image of these mechanical Norwegians bobbing up and down in a slow mesmerising rhythm, like the characters in a Quay Brothers animation I saw once (I think it was the video for a His Name is Alive song), except those were stuffed monkeys rather than Scandiwegians.

Another Kiwi said...

I had imagined the sad demise of the battery operated Norwegians as they struggle fruitlessly between the sofa and the wall.

ckc (not kc) said...

...struggle fruitlessly between the sofa and the wall

cluster flies, softly buzzing in slow languid supine circles (most named Ole)