Friday, 5 March 2010

The owl and the pussy cat – re-worked

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,
Are we?!
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,
And blows,
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,
Full moon,
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

Mrs Delany and her Circle

Mary Delany

So, hidden in the back of the building were two rooms - one filled with beautiful potted plants and another which was so cleverly designed (from a exhibitions/museum-point-of-view) that I was rather impressed. The museum is a small space you see, so to get an exhibition inside it would have required a lot of planning, and I admire the amount of careful thinking that has obviously gone into this exhibition.

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.

In 1771, Delany began to create cut out paper artworks (decoupage) as was the fashion for ladies of the court. Her works were exceptionally detailed and botanically accurate depictions of plants. She used tissue paper and hand colouration to produce these pieces. She created 1,700 of these works, calling them her "Paper Mosaiks".

This is a fabulous exhibition which has been put together by Sir John Soane's Musuem and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. It is even accompanied by a major publication Mary Delany and her Circle published by the Soane and the Yale Center for British Art. I ended up purchasing the book... I couldn't help it. I am supposed to be cutting down on the book-front after moving them all for a billionth time and realising that I have far too many (they actually reach the ceiling in my new room).

The exhibition runs until the 1st May...