Painting in National Portrait Gallery, London.
Painted by John Opie
Mrs. Delany, Mary, had always been an avid artist, and loved gardening. She was good at needlework, drawing, painting and cutting paper. It is the paperwork for which she is most well known. She called them her flower mosaicks, made out of coloured paper. In 1772, at the age of 72 years she began to create cut out paper artworks, decoupage, as was the fashion for ladies of the court. Mrs. Delany was a member of Queen Caroline's court - Caroline was the wife of King George III. She created nearly a thousand collages over 10 years before her failing eyesight caused her to stop. They are exceptionally detailed and botanically accurate depictions of plants. She used tissue paper and hand colouration to produce these pieces. She took great care to make sure each of her flower details were correct in the number of stamens and petals. She became so well known that many donors began to send flowers for her to make cuttings of. The flower mosaicks fill 10 albums, which can be seen in the Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum, London.
Crinium Asiaticum - Asiatic Crinum
|Physalis - Chinese Lantern - Winter Cherry|
H visited the British Museum last week and went to see Mrs. Delany's work. You go to the 4th floor - the Prints and Drawings area. Behind a screen with a Michelangelo cartoon, there is a door to room 90. Ring the bell, when you have shown proof of your identity, someone will let you through. Once you are admitted, bags etc are taken from you and placed in a locker. You are then taken to a desk, where a gallery assistant will give you protective gloves, and bring a box of Mrs. Delany's work to you. Once you have seen one box, you can have another. This area does not keep the museum hours, they shut for lunch and close earlier.