Simon’s Backup Weblog


Gilding The Lily

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on January 5, 2006

New Year’s Day Sunset
Originally uploaded by sbisson.

Even the mundane looks beautiful in the sunset.

The building that looks like Japanese temple is actually the Wandsworth waste transfer station, which loads rubbish onto barges to float down the Thames to landfills in Essex.

New Year’s Day sunset over the Thames from Wandsworth Bridge.

Wandsworth, London.

January 2006

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6 Responses to 'Gilding The Lily'

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  1. akicif said,

    Painting the lily. Gilding refined gold….

  2. sbisson said,

    Gilding is the process of applying gold leaf to a surface.

    (And the choice of words was deliberate!)

  3. razorsmile said,

    Ooooooooo … pretty

  4. akicif said,

    It was an unfortunate choice of words then – “gilding the lily” (and yes, I do know what gilding means, thanks) is the erroneous contraction of the phrase I alluded to above, and refers to a work of superrogation, taking things just a bit too far.

    It is a nice picture, though.

  5. sbisson said,

    You know, I’d never heard the Shakespear quote before – thought I was doing something new!

    (Sorry for the confusion, and thanks for the pointer!)

  6. anonymous said,

    It’s true that the phrase “gilding the lily” is a misquotation of Shakespeare, but to complain about it as incorrect seems pedantic. The phrase, regardless of its origin, is well-established in the language and its meaning is clear. (To be honest, though, I’m not quite sure it applies here.)

    As a point of interest, I recently heard the suggestion that Shakespeare might have been inspired by the Sermon on the Mount: “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:28-29) Seems like a stretch to me, but who knows?

    If you want a real nitpick, you didn’t “allude” to the Shakespeare quote–you mentioned it quite directly. (Nudge, wink, humor)

    With apologies for my anonymity, such as it is.


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