Gilding The Acorn


Dozens of regilded acorns around Devonshire Street remind me of our debt to the Romans in London – these are symbols of hospitality that welcome you into buildings. What’s extraordinary about the city – still – is the sheer wealth of detail you see on buildings. ‘London In Detail’ has over 2000 photographs of the kind of street furniture you see everyday but overlook. It’s an astonishing collection, with pages just dedicated to door knockers or keystones. The book is 20 years old now, and I wonder how many of the items collected here can still be seen in the streets. As much as I like new buildings, they rarely display the quirky touches beloved by the craftspeople of the past.

4 comments on “Gilding The Acorn”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Acorns, you say. I’ll go along with the frilly bottom, but an acorn is smooth, not scaly. People keep talking about pineapples being a sign of hospitality, so you find them on quilts, newel posts, gates, etc. Since pineapples are a fairly recent development where Europe is concerned I couldn’t quite fathom it. Perhaps these experts were looking at the weird acorns and trying to think of something scaly that could be seen as friendly?

  2. admin says:

    The Roman symbol for hospitality came originally from Scandinavia – I agree they’re funny looking but they didn’t have pineapples.

  3. I.A.M. says:

    The Roman symbol for hospitality was actually an artichoke, wasn’t it? Not too sure how that is ‘friendly’, but it explains the scales, certainly.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    So those would be artichokes sitting in fancy dishes waiting for people to pull off the scales and dip them in creamy dips. Everyone sitting round a table, laughing, drinking and eating artichokes. Yes, I could accept that.

Comments are closed.