Day 13 exploring the colours of an amazing collage artist….
Today I discovered an artist I had never heard of before. I have come across quite a few new female artists in the past few years. This is the first one I know of who began her art at the age of 72 and was born more than 300 years ago!
Her name is Mary Delany and she lived in England. Her flowers look as though they are skilfully constructed with watercolour, but they are in fact made out of coloured paper, hundreds and hundreds of carefully drawn and cut out pieces that exactly match the botanical likeness of every flower she copied.
She told her niece that she had found a ‘new way of imitating flowers’ and she called it ‘mosaick’ work.
She worked on a black background and layered small pieces over larger pieces to create the lifelike tones and shades. A botanist saw her work first hand and described it as stunningly accurate.
Each flower was given its Latin name and signed with her collaged initials ‘MD’. She was a talented artist who practised drawing, painting and fine needlework in the years before she started her collage work.
The flower above was created with several shades of blue – cobalt, wistful blue and wedgewood blue. The names themselves sound like poetry!
She created almost a thousand pieces of art in a span of eleven years, before failing eyesight meant she had to stop collaging.
Her great-niece gathered this fragile and exquisite collection together into albums and presented them to the British Museum where they are now very popular with visitors.
I’ve saved this one till last as it represents something that is close to everyone’s heart at the moment.
I do have one question that has not been answered in the article I read about her. Where did she find all those unbelievable shades of coloured paper nearly three centuries ago?!