Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Birds from heaven

" The artist represents those regions of nature which few can investigate: the riches of the earth, the order of the heavens, and the treasures of the deep" - John West, 1848

I have been reading John West's address to the crowd at the Mechanic's Institute Exhibition in Tasmania in 1848. He was arguing for the importance of art in the Colonies. His words really resonated with me. I love the importance he places on the imagination of the artist, a concept not often discussed at the time.

After lunch and photo booth magic Ian and I went to the Australian Museum (a natural history museum) to see the Birds of Paradise exhibition. I love taxidermy- particularly those in 'natural' postures - I have always found them strange and wonderful. It is such an odd morbid Victorian practice. Legend has it that on receiving specimens of birds of paradise, British naturalists believed these birds had come down from heaven. The bird's legs had been removed during the process of preservation. This, together with their incredible plumage, caused the naturalists to think these birds flew down from Heaven and had no need to land on Earth.

The ways these birds and their plumes were used by the local tribes of Papua New Guinea, by taxidermists, naturalists, botanical illustrators, traders and hat makers embodies West's sentiments. These people were true artists, taking inspiration from nature and transforming it with imagination.

After the exhibition I snuck up-stairs to visit my beloved black swans. i will have to do a post sometime about this blog name. :)
Outfit Details
Dress - Stella vintage in NYC
tights - tightsplease.com
boots - Nu and Nan
cardigan - Review
bag - Glebe markets


  1. your dress is so cute! esp when paired with that cardigan :)

  2. I absolutely love taxidermy. The bird collection looks stunning. We had a museum full of taxidermy in the town I grew up in and I could walk around it for hours.

  3. birds of paradise are my favourite birds! Plus, I think I spy a blue bird of paradise, my absolute favourite bird! I'm so jealous!

    plus, I love your outfit, but I'm drooling over your bag. That's my definition of perfect.

  4. Oh, so beautiful outfit, that dress is so great!
    Museums are fun:)

  5. Ah, yes, we'll have to read the story of the blog name at some point! Love outfit as usual!

  6. You look great in this outfit and I wish I could go to neat museums like the one you visited. There's not much in my town where I live in the States.

  7. I love taxidermy in a strange way - I think it just fascinates me although I like to think all the animals died of natural causes ;)

    My favourite section of the Melbourne Museum is the butterfly and bug displays - who would have thought some bugs have the most amazing coloured wings.

    Once again your outfit is amazing :)

  8. You dress very lovely and femenine. xx

  9. wow how cool, those birds are incredible! and your outfit is perfect for the outing

  10. your outfit is just darling and seems to pair well with your day's plans. this exhibit looks really neat!

  11. Yes, I am waiting for the story behind the name!


  12. Thanks for visiting us, Rebecca. We hope you enjoyed the exhibition.

  13. That exhibition looks interesting! I love taxidermy too. I went to Deyrolle when I traveled to Paris, and was really fascinated.

    Love your outfit too, it matches the surroundings!


  14. Hi! I like this post so much, you look really great!
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  15. this exhibition is both grotesque and yet incredibly beautiful at the same time, if you know what I mean. Thanks so much for showing these images!

  16. In looking through your posts, I admire your attractive poses. You look very graceful.


Go on then!