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Flowers on the Windowsill. From A Home (26 watercolours)

This is one of Larsson’s most famous watercolours from Lilla Hyttnäs. The interior illustrates several of the ideals Ellen Key presented in Beauty for All. Daylight pours in and through the open window the room is filled with fresh air. The 19th-century heavy curtains with tassels, fringes and dust-gathering drapes are conspicuously absent here. On the windowsill are plants in plain clay pots. There are no brightly-painted flowerpots decorated with raised floral or animal motifs. The ideal object, according to Key, simply serves its purpose. Pots are for flowers, and the best adornment for a windowsill was natural, green plants – not richly-decorated flowerpots. Carl Larsson’s A Home stated clearly that “artificial flowers with ribbons, dust and microbes” were not desirable.

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