Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Monday, 18 October 2010
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Me next to James Sowerby's (b.1757) Tulipa species.
Although I pretty much love all the paintings on show from the Kew Collection, there are a few paintings which inevitably stand out. Most of the ones that I like were painted by the East India Company School. There is something incredibly quirky about these paintings, and they seem to serve their purpose much more - they describe a plant and to act as an identification aid. Most (but not all) contemporary botanical art seems to have walked away from the eccentric side of things and is far more interested in showing a plant precisely and with beauty, and although some of these paintings are outstanding in their execution, the modern paintings tend to leave me gawping at the skill of the artist, rather than to smile. The old paintings make me smile. There is a pleasing innocence to these images which allows me to feel like I am talking to the artist.
So this painting here is by James Sowerby (1757-1822), one of my heroes. His name popped up many times while I was studying Sir James St. Aubyn at Plymouth Museum. He is responsible for illustrating many natural history collections, including some minerals from Sir John's collection. His colourfully illustrated books made natural history interesting to everyone in his day, and this Tulip is no exception. It is utterly beautiful in my eyes, and is anomalous in being one of my favourites in this exhibition, and not from a company school.
Monday, 26 July 2010
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Friday, 5 March 2010
The Lion and the Jessie-monster went to London,
In a beautiful white transit van,
They took the Fleetfoxes, and plenty of boxes,
Wrapped up as part of their plan.
The Lion looked up at the diversion ahead,
And sang to a steering wheel,
'O lovely Jessie! O Jessie my love,
Where in the hell are we,
Where in the hell are we?!'
Jessie said to the feline, 'You are so fine!
How brilliantly you drive this vehicle!
O I’m sure we are near, your parents must be somewhere here,
So I hear you’re rather good on a cycle?'
They drove on and on, until they reached Barbara and John,
To the land where a big-tree grows
And there made out of wood, a viewing platform stood
Where the wind does gather and blows,
Where the wind does gather and blows.
Dear lion, are you keen, now you have had your caffeine
To drive?' Said the lion, 'I will.'
So they drove to Kew, under a sky not so blue,
Which gave them both such a huge thrill.
They drank cups of tea, and were very happy,
As they stirred their cups with a spoon;
And with her left hand, in her new land,
She unpacked in the light of the full moon,
She unpacked in the light of the full moon.
Poem about my move to Kew last weekend. It was a full moon, the A303 to Salisbury was closed and I still cannot use my right forefinger... Oh and the lion, well that's a long story involving the blue moon at New Years, the full moon last month and a lot of dancing - in the light of all these ripened moons!
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
I am not going to tell you what it is all about, as that would spoil the trip. However, it is a marvellous sight. There is a fascinating balance between text and object all around the room so that one could never get bored. There are 18th century tools, a large selection of Mrs. Delany's embroidery's (which are stunningly beautiful) and a series of her sketches, paper collages and letters.
She was born at Coulston, Wiltshire, a niece of the 1st Lord Lansdowne. In February 1718 she was unhappily married to Alexander Pendarves, a wealthy Cornish landowner considerably her senior, who died in 1724. Interestingly, Pendarves was good friends with Sir Jon St. Aubyn, and so it is very likely that the two families would have known eachother very well indeed.
Anyway, during a visit to Ireland she met Jonathan Swift and his close friend, the Irish cleric, Patrick Delany, whom she married in 1743. After his death in 1768 she passed all her summers with her intimate friend the Dowager Duchess of Portland, who introduced her to George III and Queen Charlotte.
Sunday, 28 February 2010
So, in case you don't know why I am moving house with a broken finger (yes, it still has not healed, although the wire was removed on Wednesday), it is because I was fortunate enough to be offered a job to work in the Shirley Sherwood and Marianne North Galleries at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew! I was interviewed last month and was lucky enough to be offered the job. Which means for the foreseeable future I will be working as an attendant in the gallery spaces, helping to keep the galleries safe, clean, accessible and friendly. Hopefully, every now and then I will also be involved in planning new botanical illustration exhibitions and in setting them up. What fun!
Sunday, 21 February 2010
Saturday, 20 February 2010
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Sir John St. Aubyn © St. Michael's Mount Collection
It is my last day at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery on Thursday, and I am getting ready to leave all my 18th Century friends behind in the museum stores. It's a sad time, but it has been an amazing two years worth of work. I cleared my desk today, and filed the last pieces of paper. I have managed to accumulate 10 fat lever-arch files with all my research - you should have seen my managers face when I had to pass everything onto him. I know how he feels - rather how I felt two years ago - overwhelmed!
Monday, 4 January 2010
Here is my Christmas present from my mother - isn't it great?! Look it fits perfectly! The gun box is one of my salvages from a museum store a few years back. Not sure what I am going to use the box for yet - ideas are welcome. It is a bit smelly though, because it used to contain butterflies and the collector put naphthalene inside. The naphthalene stops other 'pest' insects eating the pretty insects which collectors want to keep.