The Birdman's Wife

Melissa Ashley

$32.99 Hardback
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Inspired by letters from Elizabeth found tucked inside her famous husband’s research, The Birdman’s Wife takes the form of an intimate memoir of a woman whose talent and adventurous spirit led her from the glittering salons of London to the wilds of Van Dieman’s land and New South Wales.

Set in London and Australia between 1827 and 1841, we follow Elizabeth as she meets and is courted by the famous birdman and later becomes his wife and collaborator on Gould’s trail-blazing works. Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic career, including creating more than 650 hand-coloured lithographs for eight collections, with her role as a wife and mother who gave birth to eight children. Against the fascinating backdrop of a society obsessed with exploration and discovery, Elizabeth meets and works with some of the most famous artists and explorers of the day. She learns how to bring her subjects to life with her paintbrush from the brilliant Edward Lear and illustrates Charles Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches, all while trying to find her own voice and place in the world.

Fired by the discoveries of Darwin, in 1838 Elizabeth defied convention in accompanying John on a trailblazing tour of Australia to collect and illustrate its ‘curious’ birdlife. Weaving the discovery of Australia’s unique bird species with her own personal journey, Elizabeth brings to vibrant life another time and place as she struggles with the demands of her art, the needs of her children and living with an ambitious and
demanding genius.

ISBN: 9781925344998
Publication Date: 01-Oct-2016
Publisher: Affirm Press