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    Station Eleven

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The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72

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The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 Cover

ISBN13: 9781608196975
ISBN10: 1608196976
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Paper Garden is unlike anything else you have ever read. At once a biography of an extraordinary 18th century gentlewoman and a meditation on late-life creativity, it is a beautifully written tour de force from an acclaimed poet. Mary Granville Pendarves Delany (1700-1788) was the witty, beautiful and talented daughter of a minor branch of a powerful family. Married off at 16 to a 61-year-old drunken squire to improve the family fortunes, she was widowed by 25, and henceforth had a small stipend and a horror of a marriage. She spurned many suitors over the next twenty years, including the powerful Lord Baltimore and the charismatic radical John Wesley. She cultivated a wide circle of friends, including Handel and Jonathan Swift. And she painted, she stitched, she observed, as she swirled in the outskirts of the Georgian court. In mid-life she found love, and married. Upon her husband's death 23 years later, she arose from her grief, picked up a pair of scissors and, at the age of 72, created a new art form, mixed-media collage. Over the next decade, Mrs Delany created an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum and referred to as the Botanica Delanica.

Delicately, Peacock has woven parallels in her own life around the story of Mrs Delany's and, in doing so, has made this biography into a profound and beautiful examination of the nature of creativity and art.

Gorgeously designed and featuring 35 full-colour illustrations, this is a sumptuous and lively book full of fashion and friendships, gossip and politics, letters and love. It's to be devoured as voraciously as one of the court dinners it describes.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

In 1772, upon the death of her second husband, Mary Delany arose from her grief, picked up a pair of scissors, and, at the age of seventy-two, created a new art form: mixed-media collage. Over the next decade, Mrs. Delany produced an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum and referred to as the Flora Delanica. As she tracks the extraordinary life of Delany—friend of George Frideric Handel and Jonathan Swift—internationally acclaimed poet Molly Peacock weaves in delicate parallels in her own life and, in doing so, creates a profound and beautiful examination of the nature of creativity and art. This gorgeously designed book, featuring thirty-five full-color illustrations, is to be devoured as voraciously as one of the court dinners it describes.

About the Author

Molly Peacock is the award-winning author of five volumes of poetry, including The Second Blush, and a memoir, Paradise, Piece by Piece. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and the Times Literary Supplement. A transplanted New Yorker, she lives in Toronto.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Sz, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Sz)
Beautifully written by a poet. Two unique lives provide a meld of past and present. Magnificent illustrations.
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m.egan, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by m.egan)
This is an AWESOME book.
Very gentle and very very inspiring. I've gifted my best friends with this book.
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MizLoo, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by MizLoo)
Author Molly Peacock is a poet; her language is varied, sensuous and rich with meaning. Her understanding of the artistic process informs her biography of Mary Delaney, a woman whose early life, uncertain and tenuous as it was, still displayed artistic leanings and sensibility. Delaney was married off at 16 to an alcoholic of 60 something, leading to years of Dickensian unpleasantness. During her lengthy time as a (relieved) widow, she sewed fabulous fabrics into dresses decorated with floral motifs, hoping to obtain a place at the court of George III. The modest inheritance that sustained her widowhood offered her an independence rare to women of her background and she maintained that independence despite despite the courtship of several prominent men. In late middle age, she married intemperately, but happily, only to be widowed again. In retirement, at 72, she noticed that a piece of art paper was the exact color of a flower in the garden, and set about reproducing that flower in layers of paper. The ultimate result was the "Flora Delanica," a collection, still preserved in the British Museum, of nearly 1000 different flowers, accurately and precisely reproduced in layers of colored paper.

Peacock describes Delaney's life and work elegantly, with precision and care, interspersing moments in her own life as an artist in words in ways that illuminate the triumphs and sorrows of both women. I have never read a biography anything like this one. It was an engrossing page-turner, a sensitive exploration of artistic effort, an insightful evocation of women's choices and the limits of those choices in two vastly different eras. It was the best work of non-fiction in the more than 150 books I read in 2011.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781608196975
Author:
Peacock, Molly
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
Artists, Architects, Photographers
Subject:
Biography-Artists Architects and Photographers
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Colour
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.05 x 5.16 x 1.22 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Artists
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Arts and Entertainment » Sale Books
Biography » Artists, Architects, and Photographers
Biography » Historical
Biography » Women
Featured Titles » Biography
Home and Garden » Gardening » Art and Photography
Home and Garden » Gardening » Writing

The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 Used Trade Paper
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Product details 416 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781608196975 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

In 1772, upon the death of her second husband, Mary Delany arose from her grief, picked up a pair of scissors, and, at the age of seventy-two, created a new art form: mixed-media collage. Over the next decade, Mrs. Delany produced an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum and referred to as the Flora Delanica. As she tracks the extraordinary life of Delany—friend of George Frideric Handel and Jonathan Swift—internationally acclaimed poet Molly Peacock weaves in delicate parallels in her own life and, in doing so, creates a profound and beautiful examination of the nature of creativity and art. This gorgeously designed book, featuring thirty-five full-color illustrations, is to be devoured as voraciously as one of the court dinners it describes.

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