Extract

Crockery and crocuses

The passions of a Victorian enthusiast: George Maw 1832–1912

In Turkey the tireless George Maw was able to indulge in both his loves. He found inspiration for the decorative tiles made by his family pottery. And he discovered the plants that inspired his magnificent book on crocuses. By Martyn and Alison Rix.

  • Maw's study of 'Crocus speciosus' in his magnum opus 'The Genus Crocus', which took thirty years to complete

What an indomitable worker you are in many subjects!” wrote Charles Darwin to George Maw in 1869.

Maw was indeed remarkable: first and foremost a successful businessman, he was also an archaeologist, botanist and geologist. Little known today, he epitomises the successful Englishman of the Victorian era: confident, dynamic, almost naively enthusiastic, a keen and observant traveller, interested in everything and blessed with business acumen. He was also a very competent artist, a talent shown to great advantage in his magnificent book, The Genus Crocus, published in 1886.

George was born in London in 1832, the son of John Hornby Maw, owner of a pharmaceutical business, who moved his young family from London to Hastings, where he became a keen watercolourist and collector. George and his siblings grew up with a lively artistic and social life and an appreciation of art and design that was to stand them in good stead.

To read the full article, purchase Issue 39

Issue 39, 2008 Diplomatic Secrets
£8.00 / $10.51 / 61.10 TL
Other Highlights from Cornucopia 39
  • Ankara’s Palaces of Diplomacy

    A new capital called for new architecture. Ankara in the 1920s and 1930s produced a fascinating diversity of styles as the foreign powers dragged themselves away from the Bosphorus and settled reluctantly on the Anatolian plateau

  • Birth of a Nation

    How the diplomatic world dragged itself away from Istanbul and settled in the new capital. By Norman Stone


  • The Sweet Taste of Summer

    Colourful mountains of melons are a common sight at weekly street markets. Connoisseurs examine them, sniff them, weigh them in their hands. The stalk should have dried slightly, the bottom yield gently if pressed and the fruit should feel heavy and full.
    Also see Cornucopia 47, Watermelons
    More cookery features


  • The Land that Midas Touched

    Phrygia, in western Anatolia, was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the Near East – home to Midas, Gordius and Alcibiades. Today the remnants of their lives litter this forgotten landscape, abandoned by all but a few villagers who still tell stories of the unfortunate king who lived to regret his golden gift. David Barchard heads to the Phyrigian highlands to explore a land of myth and mystery. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg


Buy the issue
Issue 39, 2008 Diplomatic Secrets
£8.00 / $10.51 / 61.10 TL
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