Lemon Ornament (fragment)

Date – 2345

Place – Archangel, Russia

The gradual loss of insect pollinators from the 20th century onwards, led to widespread crop failures across the globe. This was particularly felt in citrus crops and it took many years to develop synthetic versions that were acceptable to the public palate.

Facsimiles of lemons and limes in the form of jewellery or table ornaments became highly fashionable and those made from the rare material of plastic were greatly prized and became extremely valuable.

The citrus replicas were particularly sought after in the commercial shipping sector after the return to sail in the 2100’s. With its connections to the first great age of sail (15th -17th century) and the discovery that citrus juice could ward off scurvy and allow for much longer voyages, the lemon motif appealed greatly to sea farers.

This particular article is part of a ‘Jif Lemon’; a limited-edition series of citrus artworks that became as valuable in their day as the Fabergé Eggs (1885 to 1916). It is thought that the item on display was a high-status gift to a Scottish Sea Captain from a shipping company based in Archangel, an ancient arctic seaport that thrived after the opening up of the new international shipping lanes offered by the melting ice caps.

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