The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock
This is the story of an 18th century English woman, Mary Delany who, at age 72, invents collage. The author has woven together the facts of her life and the history of the period in which she lived with an interpretation of the flower ‘mosaicks’.
Along with these wonderfully detailed ideas, the author interspersed her own life. Using her access to Mary’s letters, books that were written soon after her death and photographs of the very old works on paper, the author tells a compelling story.
Blogging as a Resource
The other writer’s are very generous in sharing things that interest them or that may be of interest to others bloggers. That is how I came across this book. Published in 2010 by Bloombury, it is well worth reading for the description of Mary’s methods, about art theory, about the details of aristocratic women’s lives and the wonderful photography. The artwork reminds of the delicate glass flowers at Harvard University. Much study was entailed in that project. Mary Delany was her own teacher.
The book also has me thinking about my shock after reading the sexual interpretations of Georgia O’Keefe’s work. Why, I wondered was it necessary to examine the artist and her work so intimately? Could the paintings of flowers, so advanced as portraits, be enough? The botanist will learn from Mary Delany’s work. I cannot question the author too much because of her book design. It is amazing that the works have survived. Still, as I am only halfway through, there is enough for the artist’s eye.
- Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work At 72 (ritaashi.wordpress.com)