The Paper Garden

June 27, 2012





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. 







5 comments:

  1. I'm totally smitten with her work. Did you know that at this link you can see each and every one of her amazing collages?:
    http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_results.aspx?searchText=Mary+delany
    I've spent hours browsing her mosaics!
    Your tribute is beautifully fitting :-)

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  2. Thanks for the link, Geninne! I was hoping that something like this existed.

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  3. You've made me want to visit the British Museum this weekend! (in fact, I may very well just do that)

    I absolutely love your collage as well - that magnolia tree, the birdies... swoon!

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  4. Jealous! Wish I could join you. Next time I'm in the U.K. it's on my list.

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  5. Hay un libro maravilloso de Marie Delany que yo tengo
    se llama :"Mrs. Delany and her circle" editado por Yale University Press.
    Su trabajo es de una belleza increible!!

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