Mary Delany was seventy-two years old when she noticed a petal drop from a geranium. In a flash of inspiration, she picked up her scissors and cut out a paper replica of the petal, inventing the art of collage. It was the summer of 1772, in England. During the next ten years she completed nearly a thousand cut-paper botanicals (which she called mosaicks) so accurate that botanists still refer to them. Poet-biographer Molly Peacock uses close-ups of these brilliant collages in The Paper Garden to track the extraordinary life of Delany, friend of Swift, Handel, Hogarth, and even Queen Charlotte and King George III. How did this remarkable role model for late blooming manage it? After a disastrous teenage marriage to a drunken sixty-one-year-old squire, she took control of her own life, pursuing creative projects, spurning suitors and gaining friends. At forty-three, she married Jonathan Swift's friend Dr. Patrick Delany, and lived in Ireland in a true expression of midlife love. But after twenty-five years and a terrible lawsuit, her husband died. Sent into a netherland of mourning, Mrs Delany was rescued by her friend, the fabulously wealthy Duchess of Portland. The Duchess introduced Delany to the botanical adventurers of the day and a bonanza of exotic plants from Captain Cook's voyage, which became the inspiration for her art. Peacock herself first saw Mrs Delany's work more than twenty years before she wrote The Paper Garden, but 'like a book you know is too old for you', she put the thought of the old woman away. She went on to marry and cherish the happiness of her own midlife, in a parallel to Mrs. Delany, and by chance rediscovered the mosaicks decades later. This encounter confronted the poet with her own aging and gave her-and her readers-a blueprint for late-life flexibility, creativity, and change.
Full Product DetailsAuthor: Molly Peacock
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN 10: 140882938
Publication Date: 10 May 2012
Audience: General/trade , General
Publisher's Status: Active
Availability: Not yet available
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'Peacock has structured the whole book as metaphor, a collage about collage, and a meditation on sexuality, friendship and creativity. It both analyses and exemplifies that obsessional, mesmerised state induced in artists and crafts people through concentration and close observation. The volume itself is a craft object, sumptuously presented and designed ... The Paper Garden will be everyone's favourite Christmas present this year' Victoria Glendinning, Globe and Mail 'In this charming biography of her heroine, Peacock finds parallels between her own life and Mrs. Delany's that bring this text, and this person to life' Nancy Milford, author of Zelda 'Whatever the subject, rich music follows the tap of Molly Peacock's baton' Washington Post
Author InformationAuthor Website: http://www.bloomsbury.com/Authors/details.aspx?tpid=13900
Molly Peacock is the award-winning author of six volumes of poetry, including The Second Blush. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and the Times Literary Supplement. Among her other works are How to Read a Poem ... and Start a Poetry Circle and a memoir, Paradise, Piece by Piece. Peacock, a member of the Spalding University brief residency MFA graduate faculty, is currently the general series editor of The Best Canadian Poetry in English. A transplanted New Yorker, she lives in Toronto.
Tab Content 6Author Website: http://www.bloomsbury.com/Authors/details.aspx?tpid=13900
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