What a total treat this morning to find a book from a publicist in my mail. I am always happy to receive a book, but this one takes me "over the moon," as one of my young staffers at Victoria used to exclaim.
The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72. I have not really read a word yet, but the cover, the cover line, and the subject matter having me hastening to my reading chair and settling in for a good long spell. It's not a very pretty day, although I see just the first brush of yellow on the forsythia bushes and the magnolia outside my window is promising blossoms soon. So read on I will.
I know the words "Mrs. Delany" will gladden many hearts among you. How we have reveled in her paper garden--floral collages of such delicacy and beauty that they have lasted for centuries. As I open the book, on one page there is a simple black and white graphic of a pair of scissors. Divine.
A small selection reads:
After making that vital imaginative connection between paper and petal, she lifted the eighteenth-century equivalent of an X-acto blade ...or a pair of filigree-handled scissors--the kind that must have had a nose so sharp and delicate you could almost imagine it picking up a scent. With the instrument alive in her still rather smooth-skinned hand, she began to maneuver, carefully cutting the exact geranium petal shape from the scarlet paper.
Then she snipped out another....commencing the most remarkable work of her life.
I do wish that the floral illustrations had a bit of gloss, but it is a small desire. I cannot wait to tear into the story of a life whose lasting work began in the third quarter of her life.
Poet Molly Peacock is the author of this tome of almost 400 pages. You can visit her website to learn more about her. Or look at the British Museum's collection of Mrs. Delany's work online. And, of course, do look at the website for the book.
Oh, and again, thanks to a publicist who put the right book in the right hands. How did you know, Lynn?