Wednesday 18 February 2015

SOLD SAVE £70! Mrs Delany & Her Circle * £37 €67 $125 Shipping included (New Zealand & Australia $135)

Probably one of the most breathtakingly beautiful books produced in the last 10 years, this nearly 300 page full-size hardback in excellent condition, Mrs Delany & Her Circle is a fabulous book documenting with astonishing images Mrs Delany's needleart as well as her more famous botanical 'paper mosaics' Yes, the passionflower you see above and many other flowers in this book are crafted from cut-out painted papers!
Her embroidered - or rather - needle-painted floral court dresses and aprons are staggeringly rich and detailed - I saw them at the John Soanes Museum in 2010 - breath-taking, extraordinary, superlatives do Mrs Delany's art no justice.
The book gives you all the well-researched biographical and historical details to place in context the work of twice-widowed Georgian gentle-woman, Mary Granville Pendarves Delany (1700-1788). The article in a Saturday Review section of the Guardian is worth reading in full. Click here to read that Guardian text on-line.
It is always a delight to read a stitching feature in a non-stitching magazine, and even more wonderful when it appears in a national newspaper - and something of a miracle when allocated an entire page! Germaine Greer says that if you insist on viewing Mrs Delany's collection 'you could end up profoundly depressed by yet more evidence that, for centuries, women have been kept busy wasting their time.' However, Amanda Vickery who wrote the article puts forward another side of the debate and concludes, 'Domestic crafts were venerable, multivalent and eloquent - we have simply lost the power to read them.' My personal thoughts are that it is easy to get caught up in feminist debate when perhaps the debate should be about the relative merits of craft versus 'fine art'.

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