Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hidden Beauty / Beauté cachée

DAMIEN HIRST's Butterfly window , Aubade
Crown of Glory, 2006
Butterflies and household gloss on canvas

At home: Butterflies and Peruvian mirror in my office

A man tending a butterfly collection in the Natural History Museum for the Works Progress Administration, 1937.(San Diego Historical Society)

Some of the butterflies Walter Rothschild gave to Harrow School

Last July 1st, Marco, and I paid a visit to the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Parks to celebrate his birthday. Yes, he was born on Canada Day - in Lima, Peru, though. Once we had dealt with the scores of gazers that had had the same idea on that day, we began to ooze forward while gaping at the moving kaleidoscope that was performing before us. The graceful fluttering of butterflies and their beauty (hidden or not) turned every visitor into a potential aesthete. Talking about aesthetes, I have discovered a very inspirational and well-documented blog for aesthetes to rejoice or... lament.
Detail of William Morris forest tapestry, 1887

Just like peacocks or delicately adorned fans, their beauty was disclosed only with discrimination, when they could reveal their true colours.
"The Peacock Skirt", illustration by Aubrey Beardsley for Wilde's play Salomé, 1894

However, I started feeling the significant horror of their ephemeral beauty. The Blue Morpho has always been one of my favourites. It is plain from the outside and so beautifully vibrant from the inside. Of course, I can hear some of you cry out : But how cruel it is to pin the butterflies on a frame to transfix their beauty behind a glass on our walls! I know. I know. The controversy has been on for years and years and I am not going to provide you with an answer today. I think that the beauty of a dead butterfly as seen in collections baffles us - life and death being transcended in a subtle mutatis mutandis, meaning "with those things having been changed which need to be changed" .

Fan vault. Cloister, Gloucester Cathedral, England

After the Conservatory, we headed to Jordan village. Jordan Village is, as they say, a touch of time gone by, situated amidst the wineries of the Niagara Escarpment in Niagara’s Twenty Valley. We had a wonderful experience in one of the antique shops. The man in charge for the day, Jeff, told us everything we wanted to know about the extravagance and rarity of yellow china, the branding of delicate china tea cups that only started at the end of the 19th century in England, and so on and so forth. We spent 2 hours in his 90-year-old friend's antique shop and after that time, Marco had made up his mind on a birthday present. You should have seen us lifting all the cups in the light to check the see-through quality of their delicate patterns! After having hesitated between a set by Aynsley, then another one by Paragon, and a beautiful unsusal trio or three-piece set by Coalport, he eventually ended up with a non-branded, hand-painted English tea cup and saucer set that probably dates back from the 186os, as Jeff said. We love it! What I also like very much about this cup is the fact that it hides its inner beauty like a Blue Morpho and contains a few flaws due to manual work : what a raving beauty! Hidden beauty.

1 comment:

Lionel Messi said...

Thank you
The subject of more than wonderful

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