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Molly Cule
154837.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:55 am Reply with quote

Crystal Palace was modelled on a conservatory Paxton - the architect - had built to house a single species of lily at Chatsworth, where he was a head gardener. This lily grew from a seed bought back from Guiana in 1837 and taken to Kew where it didn't grow well.

The lily is called Victoria amazonica or Victoria Regia. When it began to grow sucessfully under his care Paxton presented a bud to the Queen.

Some websites say the Lily house was built to mimic the structure of the lily leaves - the geometric pattern of ribs and cross-ribs on the underside of the leaf. Paxton knew the lilies were really strong as he put his daughter on one of the floating leaves and it didn't sink. It became a Victorian fad to have your photo taken standing on a lily leaf.

Whether of not the Lily House was inspired by the structure of the Lily leaf Crystal Palace was certainly modelled on the Lily House at Chatworth.

Molly Cule
154845.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:01 am Reply with quote

The first flower of Victoria regia in England, was in November, 1849. The event brought together a distinguished concourse of visitors of the nobility and literati. A novel event was the appearance, on the occasion, of little Miss Annie Paxton, who, dressed in costume of a fairy, took her place in one of the tray-like leaves, and, like a Naiad of the waters, presided as the fairy guardian of this beautiful floral queen. Such an event could not be less than inspiring; accordingly the muse of the famous Douglas W. Jerrold produced the following:

"On unbent leaf, in fairy guise
Reflected in the water,
Beloved, admired by heart and eyes,
Stands Annie, Paxton's daughter.

Accept a wish, my little maid,
Begotten at the minute,
That scenes so bright may never fade,
You still the fairy in it.

That all your life, nor care, nor grief
May load the winged hours
With weight to bend a lily's leaf,
But all around be flowers."

Here is a drawing on Paxton's daughter standing on the lily.

Molly Cule
154848.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:07 am Reply with quote

someone else doing it - cheating a bit


(edited to remove Molly's incredible page-stretching url)

154850.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:10 am Reply with quote

The first manager of the Crystal Palace charitable trust, Henry James Buckland, named one of his daughters Chrystal.

154853.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:17 am Reply with quote

I just remembered, the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace are quite interesting because they are all anatomically incorrect but can't be changed because they're officially grade II listed buildings.

(source for previous post - source for dino fact Bollocks to Alton Towers)

154854.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:18 am Reply with quote

Molly, can you make that link smaller?

if you type:

[url= ] link [/ url]

...without the spaces, that should do it.


Molly Cule
154861.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:30 am Reply with quote

The dinosaurs were put on 3 islands, the first representing the Paleozoic era, a second, the Mesozoic era, and a third representing the Cenozoic era. The lake was tidal and so the water rose and fell around the dinasaurs bodies. To mark the 'launch' of the models Hawkins - the man who built them - held a dinner on New Years Eve 1853 inside the mould of one of the dinosaurs - the Iguanodon.

154863.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:35 am Reply with quote

More crystal palace stuff here

Molly Cule
154868.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:42 am Reply with quote

Hmm... MatC vs Gaazy - is the great exhibition QI?! Is Gaazy the girl who came to a show last series, the biggest smallest QI fan ever? Or not. Im going to be in trouble if not!

154870.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:44 am Reply with quote

You may be in a bit of trouble, Gaazy is a bloke who presents a welsh-language radio show from Anglesey. I think you're thinking of Dotcom.

Molly Cule
154871.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:46 am Reply with quote

Oops. !

154879.  Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:13 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
I just remembered, the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace are quite interesting because they are all anatomically incorrect but can't be changed because they're officially grade II listed buildings.

(source for previous post - source for dino fact Bollocks to Alton Towers)

In which case, I surrender - that is very interesting.

156871.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:27 pm Reply with quote

InAntwerp, there's a Museum of Newspaper Flops (I've been there). The eccentric owner collects printed boo-boos from all over the globe. No doubt the collection is being replenished constantly...

Molly Cule
166018.  Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:40 am Reply with quote

Glass flowers at Harvard
The biggest tourist attraction at Harvard University is an exhibition of flowers made out of glass. The collection of over 3,000 model flowers attract over 100,000 visitors a year.
The models were commissioned by the first Director of the Harvard Botanical Museum, George Goodale and financed by the Ware family. The flowers replicate tiny details of plant anatomy with amazing detail and were used for teaching botany.
They were made by father and son, the Blaschkas from Dresden. Before the flowers Leopold Blaschka, the father, sold glass eyes. He also made beakers and test tubes. Then he began making models of marine animals – squid, jellyfish and sea anemones which he sold to museums all over the world.

The pair grew American species in their own garden, which they then copied, they also visited the royal gardens of Pillnitz and replicated flowers they found there, later they made trips to the Caribbean for samples. The first shipment of 20 flowers was sent to the U.s in 1887 and father and son carried on making the flowers for the next 5 decades. The plants are known as the Ware Collection and are in the Botanical Museum of Harvard. The models are used for teaching in plant sciences.
There is a series called the ‘rotten fruit’ showing plant diseases. Some of them now have white powdery stuff on their leaves which is glass corrosion.
In 1976 25 models had to be taken to 5th Avenue, NYC for an exhibition, they were driven from Harvard and back in a hearse as this was smoothest ride the curators could find.
Students of medieval history who learn that stained glass window are thicker at the bottom than the top because glass is a liquid and over time, it slowly flows toward the ground and collects at the bottom of the pane are wrong.
"The reason old glass is thicker at the bottom is the way it's made," he continued. "It's what they call 'crown glass.' You blow glass on the end of a long pipe until you have a big bubble, then you burst it and lay it out flat while it's still warm. Just imagine you and me doing that. Rolling it out on a table, trying to keep it warm and roll it flat. It's not going to be perfectly flat. Then you cut it up and give the pieces to the carpenter. If he's logical, he sets it in the window with the thick side on the bottom, it'll stand up while he caulks around it. It's much easier to work with.

166054.  Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:04 am Reply with quote

I love the idea of transporting sick glass flowers in a hearse rather than an ambulance - saves time if they die too I suppose.


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