Placed one atop the other and wrapped in a plastic bag, your muffled conversations hugged the corner whereas I went straight ahead and so I have no idea as to what was actually said. In the space of rustled make-believe, perhaps collectively you said you longed to take to the stage, to be part of Sergei Diaghilev's "restless, physical slideshow" steeped in the exotic, flanked by nymphs darned and patched. In the chatter, I calculated the spectacular effect. Léon Bakst was right: "People Just Want to Look!"
This week, editions I and II of Gracia's Salvaged Relatives in their three-coloured Solander boxes bound by me will be flying to their new homes at the State Library of New South Wales and the University of Melbourne respectively. Before they do, here is a closer look at some of my favourite of the collaged cabinet cards and at my binding. With ribbon from l'uccello and gold-trimmed edges on the contents and title pages (a slow task I deeply relished!), this project has been such a joy to work on that we are both sorry it has drawn to a close. We already miss those costumed characters and all the planning that goes into the details.
Above you can see, from top to bottom,
In the borrowed costume for Pierrot, 1920–24, cradling an Atlantic flyingfish (Cheilopogon melanurus)
In the borrowed skirt of Columbine, c. 1942, with a Pen-tailed tree shrew (Ptilocercus lowii) and a Water opossum (Chironectes minimus)
In the borrowed costume for a chamberlain from The song of the nightingale, c. 1920, with a Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus)
In the borrowed costume for a Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov for Diaghilev’s Saison Russes, c. 1908, with a three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus)
In the borrowed costume for Queen Thamar, c. 1912, with a House mouse (Mus musculus) and a Marsupial mole (Notoryctes typhlops) tucked under the arm
Here's to the next thing!