Friday, 4 February 2011
More of the colourful Burmantofts pottery in Salts Mill, Saltaire, part of the Silver family's extensive collection. These jardiniere bowls, some on pedestals, were decorative and no doubt made a fine display stand for that ubiquitous houseplant, the aspidistra. Known as the 'cast-iron plant', these tropical plants survive neglect and shady corners and were popular indoor plants from Victorian times through to the Second World War.
They were immortalised in a song sung by Gracie Fields, 'The Biggest Aspidistra in the World':
'For years we had an aspidistra in a flower pot
On the whatnot, near the 'atstand in the 'all
It didn't seem to grow 'til one day our brother Joe
Had a notion that he'd make it strong and tall
So he's crossed it with an acorn from an oak tree
And he's planted it against the garden wall
It shot up like a rocket, 'til it's nearly reached the sky
It's the biggest aspidistra in the world.'