Too busy to blog all over the place just now — but still blogging at Inside a Strange Garden
Some pages and illustrations from the Infant’s Cabinet of Birds and Beasts, published in London in 1820:
These illustrations are just wonderful and I had it in my head that the children looking at these drawings at the time would have very little chance of setting eyes on live elephants and zebras. But that is not necessarily so, because a visit to the circus was a popular pastimes during the mid 1800′s (when Victorian children may have taken this book down from a bookcase).
The Victoria & Albert museum has an excellent page on the Victorian circus. Here are a couple of images from the V & A website:
And they could see animals which are now extinct, as as a type of zebra called a Quagga:
The somewhat disquieting painting, Isle of the Dead, by the swiss artist Arnold Böcklin:
Here’s another of Böcklin’s paintings:
Sergei Rachmaninov symphonic poem — The Isle of the Dead, inspired by the Böcklin painting and played by the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra:
I’ve been trying to photograph garden bugs and insects. There’s lots of these little guys around:
I’m using this brilliant site: Bugs in the Garden to try to identify them. It may take a while, as its harder than you might think.
I took a couple of photographs in the garden after it had rained — my very favourite time:
We put the roses in the wrong place and will soon be pricked by the thorns — we will have to move them further back. I can’t have enough plants, I want the garden to be a sea of them. I wish I knew the names of them all. I checked out the Royal Horticultural Society website and saw this:
When I go to London I might visit Keats House. There’s a fascinating collection there, including many items which once belonged to Fanny Brawne, the woman who was betrothed to Keats. Some of the items are delicate, sensitive to light and cannot always be on display but you can read some of the letters from Keats to Fanny Brawne on the Keats House website.
Here’s a lifemask of Keats — which gives an amazing indication of what he actually looked like. He died at twenty-six, so probably did not have that long to live when this was done.
Keats was yet another to die at an early age from that the dreaded Tuberculosis, which cut a swathe through a saddening number of famous scribes. It would seem that at one point in time, wasting away and then dying young from consumption was almost an obligatory part of being a poet or a writer.
Even given the advances in public health, TB has not given up on us yet — as, worldwide, it is still one on the most common causes of death from infections disease (after HIV/AIDS).
On that cheerful note…
I like shopping at museum stores but it’s a bit of a hit or miss affair — some have quality, interesting quirky items and others are full of over-priced and run-of-the-mill boring stuff. The MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) store is one of the best. The quality appears to be high and the products seem more design-led and less aimed at the tourist market. The museum is in New York but the store ships internationally. Here’s some jewellery from the store that caught my eye:
The Floating Pearl Ring. This looks intriguing — I like the idea of the pearl being trapped under the wire/mesh. And the ringed tubed element at the bottom adds further interest. ($85).
Duel Bubble Earrings These are best sellers and I can see why — they are versatile enough to go with a number of ‘looks’ but are not in any way too conservative or ultra- safe. $55
Felt Kitten Brooch I probably wouldn’t wear this but can see it would be cute and fun on some people. $10
The cost of international shipping from the MoMA store goes by weight — so these lightweight items probably wouldn’t cost too much.