The flowery mead is one of the essential components in all our perceptions of a medieval garden. Fourteenth century poet Giovanni Boccaccio (b. Paris, 1313; d. Certaldo 1375) in his Decameron of 1348 painted a vivid picture of what a villa and garden of a wealthy Florentine was like. The Cocharelli manuscript from the late fourteenth century shows members of the nobility standing beside a marble fountain in a garden planted with figs, oranges, pomegranates and grape vines resembling Boccacio’s description ‘in the midst of the garden a lawn of very fine grass, so green it seemed nearly black, coloured with perhaps a thousand kind of flowers…shut in with very green citrus and orange trees bearing, at the same time, both ripe fruit and young fruit and flowers so that they pleased the sense of smell as well as charmed the eyes with shade’. This description has its parallels in the tapestries produced during this period…known as the mille fleurs or thousands of flowers
TagsCocharelli ManuscriptDecameronFlorentine GardenFlowery MeadFourteenth centuryGiovanni Boccacciomille fleursthousands of flowers
Carolyn McDowall FRSA has gained considerable experience and business acumen in her professional career. An independent cultural and social historian, Carolyn is an interior designer by trade. She has been involved in the creative sector for over thirty years in Australia; completing interior design projects, creating and producing innovative corporate and not-for profit (social profit) community events. She has over that time continuously conducted independent research , while designing, developing, and producing educational art and design history programs in conjunction with renowned specialist colleagues.
In the exhibition Napoleon: Revolution to Empire, currently being shown at the National Gallery of Victoria there is an exquisite miniature portrait of French artist, writer, diplomat, author, and archaeologist Baron Dominique-Vivant Denon (1747-1825) painted on ivory by Vincent Bernard. Denon survived the revolution having served both Louis XV and…