There are no good words to explain my quietude here. There are no better words than loss, mourning, tiredness, recovery and numb spirit.
This post was planned to be ready at the beginning of July, but my mind was somewhere else. My beloved grandmother, Martha, died at 95. Some of you have read about her here on the blog before, or heard of her from my newsletter recipes. She’s meant a world to me and I’ve been dealing with this grief for a couple of months now.It’s getting better, and I know she will always live in my heart, but it’s really hard.
I’m only regaining the strength to write here. I should have come back from my July holiday refreshed and reenergized, but it’s all been different now. Moreover, having been weakened by recent events, I coped worse with everyday life and my academic work. I started to lose will power to finish promising projects and to meet my goals regarding Interior Mad.
There are so many things I have in mind, or I have as “work to do” on my agenda that have been long overdue now. I’m happy like a small child with this new post here. And I really hope you’ll like it too. Your support and comments are what keeps me going and I hope it will give me the strength to carry on with this blog project.
While I was searching for some obscure manuscripts at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, I visited an exhibition called Bodleian Treasures, where you could see amazing items, such as King Charles I’s travelling library or Percy Bysshe Shelley’s guitar.
One of the illustrations there caught my eye immediately, and it came from John Gould’s The Birds of Australia (1840-1848).
When I saw this vivid illustration I was stunned by the wonderful colour combination created by nature. I was even more impressed with the rendering of this bird in such a compelling picture.
This image was created after Elizabeth Gould’s drawing – like all the other plates in the book that were produced by H.C. Richter. Unfortunately, they were published only under his name.
Trivia: Cassowaries are related to ostriches and emus. It is the male who nurses the eggs and later raises the chicks. (source)
Elizabeth Gould accompanied her husband during his nearly two-year trip to Australia (1838-1840). She was a prolific illustrator, though her fame has never been greater than her husband’s. Elizabeth is the protagonist of Melissa Ashley’s historical fiction The Birdman’s Wife (Affirm Press, 2016), and I’m eager to read this novel. I wonder if this story could make a good film script.
The sense of exotic, naturally pervading The Birds of Australia, has inspired me to prepare for you a double moodboard that, in my view, reflects the style, elegance and vividness of the presented illustration.
How do you like my inspirations? If you want more, you may like my post on exotic eclecticism from London.
Let me know what you think in the comment box below or on my social media channels. I’d love to hear from you.
With all my love,