Thursday, November 10, 2016

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Another exhibition date looms over the horizon - actually the opening is next week so the work is just about done. But before I formally invite you, let me tell you a story behind one of the paintings in the show.

I wanted to paint a work that would sit well with a floral painting that I had completed some time before. I am currently exploring a new direction incorporating enigmatic portraits in my contemporary style. The floral painting is of the boronia flower, a genus of about 160 plants all endemic to Australia, so named after a young assistant botanist named Francesco Borone.

The best account I have found comes from the words of Ian Fraser, click on his name to follow his blog

On 1 November 1794, in Athens, a very talented young field botanist met a tragic death; furthermore it was a death that has become enveloped in mythology and mystery. His name was Francesco Borone, and he was the protegé of the great English patron of botany, Sir James Smith. Four years later Smith fulfilled a promise he made on hearing of Borone's death, and named a genus of very beautiful Australian shrubs for him; the flowering of Boronia is one of the highlights of spring in many parts of southern Australia.

Originally employed by Smith as a domestic servant, Borone soon showed his interest and intelligence and became a valued botanical field assistant. With Smith's recommendation, he accompanied the eminent Swedish botanist Adam Azelius to Sierra Leone then, fatefully, went with the great John Sibthorp to Greece to collect for the monumental Flora Graecae. Recovering from a bout of fever (which may have been something he picked up in west Africa) he appears to have sleep-walked out of a narrow hotel bedroom window high above the street. It sounds an odd tale, but we have Sibthorp's direct account in a letter written the same day to Smith. Unless Sibthorp and at least two assistants and companions of Borone were in some strange conspiracy - and there is no reason to suppose such a thing - the bizarre accident seems to have been just that. (Sibthorp also speculated that it was possible that Borone had mistaken the window; he was used to stepping out of the one across the room to walk on the hotel terrace.)

More versions of his death evolved to touch the imaginations of the tender hearted. But this one is deemed the correct one.

Boronia, a sweet flower, A lovely tribute.

Remembering Francesco
Diptych 65 x 96cm 
Exhibition Time!

If you are in Sydney, you are invited to an exhibition of mine and fellow artist Julie Simmons' works.

Held at the Depot Gallery, 2 Danks Street Waterloo for 2 weeks. opens 15 November.

If you cant make the show and are interested in viewing the work please send me an email and we will send you a catalogue.

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