Mrs. Delany and Her Circle, 2009, Yale Press
The cover image is of the botanical Passiflora, one of Mrs. Delany's paper collages/mosaics.
The book will become widely available in November. However, lucky for me, Mark and his wife Sharon dropped by my studio today to show me the newly published copy. The cover is beautiful and the book itself is simply outstanding. It stole my breath away.
THIS is the mesmerising story of the life of one happening woman in the 18th century!
Portrait of Mary Delany at the age of 82 years by John Opie (1782)
Mary's friends included Handel, a close confidante and Jonathan Swift, a neighbour. She was courted by John Wesley and studied drawing with Hogarth and flower drawing with Georg Ehret.
Need I go on ? Let's see..... she studied painting with Joseph Goupy and, as you have seen above, she had her portrait painted by John Opie.
At the age of 72, Mrs. Delany embarked on a series of beautiful botanical paper mosiacs. Her illustrations of plants and flowers are made entirely of coloured paper. The craftsmanship and detail are so accurate that it's hard to believe that they were created by a 70 year old woman.
Pancratium Maritinum 1778, Mary Delany
Paper collage botanical illustration
Mrs. Delany produced close to one thousand botanical illustrations in the 10 years that followed. Astounding! There is a wonderful exhibition of her life and work being shown at The Yale Center for British Art from now until January 2010.
In addition to her paper collages, the exhibition also pays tribute to a woman who led an extraodinary cultural and artistic life.
King George III
King George the Third and his wife Queen Charlotte were great patrons of Mary's work. She also had a circle of friends that would be the envy of most of us - as noted previously.
One of M.Delany's drawings taken from the book.
Mary was a great woman of letters, skilled at embroidery and shell work, decoupage, and marvelous gardener (A regular 18th century Martha Stewart I should think..... then some!).
Edmund Burke called her "A woman of fashion for all ages".
I'd love to see a film of Mary's life and art produced. What do you think ?
Her tools and bag ( a gift from Queen Charlotte).
My warmest congratulations to Mark.
I'm told that this is a most charming exhibition and that there are many good restaurants in that neck of the woods. Doesn't hurt, does it ? Plus all that academia and great buildings. Oooh, sounds fun.
An hour and half train ride from NYC will take you to Yale. Gosh I love train trips. Enough reason for me to go.
A Grand Day Out .....I should think.