Study of Blaschka Beadlet anemone
2018. h:31.5cms x w:26.5cms (framed).
I was enchanted by the Natural History Society of Northumbria's collection of exquisite scientific glass models of sea anemones made by Leopold Blaschka (1822-1895) and his son Rudolph. I concentrated on the Beadlet anemone model as it related well to the P. H. Gosse book I studied previously. There is a poetic quality to Blaschka's exquisitely delicate use of glass as the only way to preserve the ephemeral forms and colours of these sea creatures at the time: impossible to preserve animals have been immortalised in almost impossibly fragile models. Blaschka only observed living anemones later in his career, so he initially used illustrations and the verbal and written specimen observations from others to inform his models. In the hunderd-plus years since their making, whatever 'mistakes' there are in the models' accuracy or identifications only give added poignancy to our search for understanding. My drawing reflects one moment in the continuing narrative of Blascka's models. I have placed my 'unfinished' sketchbook studies from the model among texts from the Society's records and Blaschka's drawings. There is a layering of differing representations of this Beadlet anemone from early verbal and pictorial records, to the three-dimensional model and back to my two-dimensional artwork.
Artwork Group Image: