I've been reading 'The Paper Garden' by Molly Peacock, a book I picked up while in NYC. At first I hesitated, because at a glance it seemed a bit quaint and precious. I must admit, I was little seduced by its cover. When I realized that the botanical image on the cover was not a painting, however, and in fact an incredibly intricate paper collage (or mosaick, the prefered term of its creator), I was intrigued.
Mary Delaney born in 1700 to a British upper class family, created hundreds of these intricately layered paper botanical mosaicks. The botanicals, now housed in the British Museum, are extraordinary for their beauty, complexity and scientific accuracy. Even more astounding is that Delaney began to create them at the age of 72, four years after the death of her beloved, second husband. Peacock weaves an elegant tapestry of Delaney's life, history, art, and the natural world. The resulting portrait is so vivid, that by the end of the book I felt as if Delaney was a long lost relative.
The first and last images up above are 2 of Delaney's mosaicks. The center is a collage painting I made that was loosely inspired by her.