There are very few decorating accessories that can bridge the gap from Old World to Ultra Contemporary styles and also manage to work as well with everything in between from Rustic, Farmhouse, Cottage, French, Shabby, Traditional, Industrial, Coastal.....the list goes on and on. The demijohn is one of these and today you can't open a decorating magazine or go online without seeing them standing alone or grouped together on a tabletop. I am not a big follower of trends de jour but I recently ran across one, complete with crate, for a mere pittance and said "why not" since my style is more Old World.
Now for some history! The demijoihn is a large old glass bottle that was used to transport wine and other spirits, oils, and even molasses.
You may have seen them at flea markets and antique sales but probably are unaware that their history dates back a very long time and there’s even a romantic legend involving an exiled Queen. ( see more about this below). Originally demijohns were either wrapped in wicker or crated but today most have lost their wicker coverings or had them removed to reveal the beautiful wavy glass which is usually green, blue, or clear.
Decorating with demijohns continues to be a hot trend at present so I have gathered some images to help you incorporate them into your own home. Have fun....get out and find a few for yourself.
In use as early as the 1400's, it is believed that the demijohn may have come from a glass making town in Persia called Damaghan. Others believe it is a French word meaning dame-jeanne (Lady Jane) since the word initially occured in France in the 17th century and there is no earlier trace of it. It was known a damigiana in Italy which also means dame- jeanne or Lady Jane. It was changed to demijohn by the British.
Others believe it happened another way.......so here is the legend I promised earlier. On a stormy night while she fled in exile from her country, Queen Jane of Naples took refuge in the home of a glass blower in Provence in the south of France. Upon attempting to show her his glass blowing skills, and out of nervousness in her presence, he over blew the glass and created an enormous bottle. There was so much admiration for this bottle that he decided to start manufacturing the big flasks and he named them after Lady Jane (dame jeanne).
No matter which legend you choose to believe, demijohns are typically globular or ovoid shaped bottles that were the storage vessel of choice for the wine and spirit merchants and were imported, full of spirits or oil, from Europe during the 1700 and 1800's.
Usually these bottles were always green, blue, clear and sometimes amber. This will tell you if you have an true antique demijohn because now you can find them in a variety of colors.
The demijohns were usually wrapped in wicker. We look at it as great aesthetics but it was necessary to cushion and protect them during transit in wagons on bumpy dirt roads.
Demijohns were also crated for their protection. These are called bumper crates and are also sought after decorative accessories
This is the crated demijohn I recently picked up for myself to use in a sitting room where I have a TV. I love the crate it is in. Sorry about the poor quality picture....it's just a quick one from my camera.
Decorating with demijohns is a great way to bring color and texture to the home. In this home they bring their signature green color to an all-white setting.
Demijohns can be used in so many creative ways from floor and table top decor to vases and even modern pendant lighting.
Incorporate a demijohn into a vignette for an unique vintage decoration.
Like I said before these wonderful bottles work well in so many interiors. The demijohn's sea-greens and blues makes it a perfect accessory for the coastal or beach home.
Photography by Jean Allsopp for Coastal Living Magazine
Another stunning coastal interior decorated with demijohns. With their long, slender necks the are the perfect vase for a single stem of flowers or tropical plant leaf.
How pretty the pink hydrangeas are when presented in an antique demijohn.
Because of their shape and size these demijohns really add dimension to this room.
Flowering branches make lovely additions to any room and a large glass demijohn is the perfect way to display them.
As you can see the demijohn can stand alone as an accessory.........
........or as a group that makes an eye-catching statement.
The sizes and colors make decorating with demijohns perfect for a casual, rustic interior. Doesn't their green color look wonderful against distressed primitive wood?
If your heart (and decor) bleeds French, then demijohns are a "must find" for you. To me they are at their loveliest in this style home.
I have lost the link to this image. If it is yours, please let me know so I can give credit.
I am delighted that these wonderful demijohns have been given a second life by means of vignettes and floorscapes.
One of the most appealing ways to display a collection of demijohns is alongside baskets. These two were meant for each other!
Be still my heart!!
Collect a few demijohns to display if you like a rustic and relaxed feeling to your interiors. They are perfect for nooks and crannies that need a decorating punch.
Add in some other green antiques and vintage accessories to create very handsome vignettes.
Palm Design Group
A collection of demijohns will immediately give your kitchen that European farmhouse flair.
I love these bottles perched up high on a great piece of furniture
Interiors are not the only places where a collection of demijohns can stand out.
They add something special to every place you display them. I love how the mirrors will reflect green from the garden onto the walls and compliment the demijohn collection.
You can also embellish your garden with a lone large demijohn jar. It's like bling for your landscape.
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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer