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Piece of twisted wood from an ash tree in Stainstead Park (near Emsworth, Sussex) (see also L104)
Museum number: L96
William Lodder presented Soane with these ‘beautiful spontaneous excrescences of nature’ on the morning of 15 March 1820. He wrote to Soane later the same day hoping they would be ‘worthy a situation amongst your curious and numerous collections’ and explaining that they had been cut from an ash tree in Stainstead Park, near Emsworth, Sussex, by a woodsman named Bolton. Mr Bolton had displayed them as ornaments on his cottage fireplace as ‘a great curiosity’, before presenting them to Mr Lodder in 1817. Soane was fascinated by natural forms, especially as they might relate to the origins of architecture. In his 1835 Description of his house he commented on the view of the Monument Court from this window, with its Architectural Pasticcio and assemblage of ancient and modern Art, adding that the lovers of Grecian art will be gratified by comparing the outline of this work [the pasticcio – the column in the centre of the yard] with the two natural productions on the sides of the window, found growing in the hollow of an old oak pollard.
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