Pineapple Butter Cooler and Flower vase combined – Photo of the day
Pineapple Butter Cooler and Flower vase combined
This photograph is all that remains of an ingenious dual purpose object designed in the late nineteenth century by the French Australian artist, Lucien Henry.
Best known for his innovative use of Australian flora and fauna motifs in architectural design, Henry planned to publish a book, ‘Australian decorative arts: one hundred studies and designs.’ Although the pineapple is not native to Australia, an image of the butter cooler/flower vase was to be included in a section of the book that documented his earlier work.
Henry’s prospectus promised that the objects depicted in photographs such as this one were to be reproduced in the final version of the book by ‘wood engraving, heliogravure and the best processes of the day.’
In the highly decorative moulded earthenware example depicted in the photograph, Henry seems to have solved two problems: the pineapple shape allowed enough depth for the vase section to extend down as a central core that could be filled with water, keeping the flowers fresh and the butter cool.
The Powerhouse Museum holds the largest collection of Lucien Henry’s work and in 2001 held an exhibition entitled, Visions of a Republic: the work of Lucien Henry. Paris, Noumea, Sydney.
Photography by Henry Death
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Post by Kathy Hackett, Photo Librarian
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