On May 14, 1700, in Coulston, England, Mary Delany was born.
Mrs. Delany lived quite the aristocratic life and was a friend of Handel and Swift. Her letters provide a first hand glimpse into the court of George III and Queen Charlotte. If you are so inclined, the letters may be downloaded for free from Google Books.
At the age of 72, she began to make paper mosaicks of plants. Her Flora Delanica comprise over 1000 botanicals; for each, she painted the paper, cut out exquisite, minutely detailed plants, and glued each to a black background. The plants vibrate wioth life, and upon close inspection, one can see the variations in color and shape. She handled her scissors with extreme precision.
Molly Peacock’s illuminating book, The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, examines Delany’s life via her mosaicks–each chapter entwined around a plant and written with the poetic prose by this award-wining poet. The book itself is the perfect size to hold in one’s hand as one examines Delany’s botanicals.