"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Of chocolate boxes and tea boards

In my youth chocolate boxes had their lids illustrated with pretty scenes of landscapes, villages or pets.  Anne Hathaway's cottage and its pretty garden were a favourite subject.  As a result the term .   Over the years the term chocolate boxy came to be used, often pejoratively, to describe paintings that were warm, idealistic and sentimental and, by extension inferior or too pretty pretty. Yorkshire Pudding in their blog recently wrote "I went into Meekfield Wood and out the other side to another chocolate box lid hamlet called Moorhall." so the phrase is still well in use but now it tends to be used less insultingly and simpky to mean very pretty.
(Incidentally, I couldn't find a single image of a British choloate box lid from that era so they obviously weren't considered hanging on to.)

In Victorian times tea trays or teaboards were similarly decorated and they had a term with the same meaning - teaboardy - to mean art lacking merit..

1 comment:

  1. Nothing wrong with everyday art on tea trays and chocolate boxes, if you ask me!
    I was familiar with the term chocolate box cottage (or village) but didn't know that it was (and maybe still is) sometimes used for something that is "too pretty".