Friday, September 2, 2011

Mary Delany

You know how I love flowers. I was attracted to the cover of this book and then the color plates inside. I'm not one for historical novels, but I've set aside my prejudice temporarily. I discovered a long ago artist who also loved flowers.

You won't believe it when I tell you these flowers were not painted with watercolors, oils, acrylics, pigments, or inks. How did they come about?

Just look at all the subtle colors and the botanical details.

I picked up The Paper Garden, An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72, written by Molly Peacock. Much too intellectual and literary for me. The prose of Molly Peacock reads like a dictionary of words I've never read or heard.

Nevertheless, I'm forging ahead because I'm intrigued to learn how an artist finds their way so late in life. Peacock writes about the artist, Mary Granville Pendarves Delany 1700-1788, who is the inventor of collage and mixed media.

Mary Delany wrote to her sister "I have invented a new way of looking at flowers". Mary cut small pieces of paper in a multitude of colors to 'paint' her flowers by attaching them to a painted black background paper. What an example for artists today to delve into new areas. I am reminded it's never too late to begin an art career or life's work. Thanks for the inspiration Mary Delany. The original mosaic paintings by Mary Delany can be found in the British Museum. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. How inspirational. I'll have to look for this book in my public library. The pictures you took are fantastic.

  2. How beautiful! And never too late..

  3. Maybe there is hope for me yet to get creative? How wonderful to be someone who does something "first".

  4. Well, I was in the British Museum in July. Would have been fun to look for her work- that museum is HUGE!

  5. Hi Lori, thanks so much, the photos don't show the cut pieces of paper but they still amaze me knowing how they were made.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, yes never too late and particularly for a woman born in 1700.

    Hi Patti, thanks, yep there's hope for me too. ha.

    Hi Amy, thanks, these works are stored somewhere in the museum and they will bring them out and let you look at them with gloved hands.

  6. I'd heard of this book recently and thought it sounded intriguing. I, too, like the idea of late in life self-discoveries.

  7. Hi Teresa, thanks, you may be familiar with the author who is a poet of some esteem; I'll be curious to check our her poems too. So late in life and so long ago what a treasure her works are.


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