The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life's Work At 72

Molly Peacock

Excerpts from reviews of The Paper Garden in Australia and New Zealand - and other news

to other pages of Reviews: main Reviews page - United States - Canada - UK and Ireland - to Paper Garden home page

The Sunday Mail Brisbane (December 12, 2010) names The Paper Garden as the Christmas Book of 2010 for The Biography Lover (chosen by Fiona Stager)

The Daily Telegraph in Sydney (December 12, 2010) chooses The Paper Garden as a Holiday Pick of the Page-Turners (chosen by Derek Dryden)

from review by Nicola Walker in Sydney Morning Herald, December 18, 2010:
     The book is divided into chapters based loosely on a flower picture: Damask Rose, for instance, or Everlasting Pea. Peacock reads in the form, colour and orchestration of each one facets of Delany's life, as if she had composed a botanical autobiography. It's a captivating method, buttressed by sumptuous illustrations (it makes for an attractive hardback) and Peacock's prose, which is as pungent and precise as her subject's flowers. . . .
     Peacock is not the first to write about Delany - there have been several biographies and an edited Letters - but she is original: "some of us flash into floral peak like prom queens, but others of us have to dry like the winter cherry in order to unfold into productivity". The Paper Garden is a blessed relief from the humdrum, a bright feather in a peacock's tail.

from review by Lucy Sussex in the Sunday Age (Melbourne), October 31, 2010:
What does a modern Canadian poet have in common with the 18th-century English minor aristocrat who accidentally invented collage? In this delightful book, plenty.

from review by Terry Oberg in the Courier Mail (Brisbane), November 6, 2010:
The Paper Garden is a lusciously presented book, complete with glossy reroductions of Delany's collages, and Peacock's prose is as precise, delicate and absorbing as the illustrations.

from review by Nina Valentine in Ballarat Courier, November 18, 2010:
This wonderful book chronicles [Mrs. Delany's] astounding life and ties it all together with some of those wondrous flowers.

from review by Lorien Kaye in Age, December 11, 2010:
The writing is always rich (Peacock is a poet, and this is evident throughout) and the author has broader concerns than straight biography - especially with the connections between creativity and life. This lovely hardback with its glossy illustrations gives a sense of Delany's artistic achievements.
     For the book lover in your family or friends who like to pore over a book and relish it, this is the book to buy.

from review by Joanne Ryckmans in Vogue Australia, December 2010:
a rich biography brimming with fashion and friendships, intrigue and politics in the life of an extraordinary gentlewoman

from review by Marjorie Lewis-Jones in Insights, February 2011:
It was this late-blooming - and its exquisite creative output - that most fascinated the author and poet Molly Peacock. From her fascination grew this beautiful book, The Paper Garden - a visible and reverential fruit.

from review by Dale Harcombe in Good Reading, March 2011:
This intriguing portrait of a woman who was well ahead of her time is a book to savour. Not only is it beautifuly presented, with full-colour illustrations, but the prose also highlights the writing skills of Canadian poet Molly Peacock.

review on "BookieMonster" Website, November 12, 2010:
     The Paper Garden is a total delight. From beginning to end, from gorgeous cover to gorgeous cover, it is a joy to read. . . .
     And Mrs Delany’s art. It’s fabulous and the book does it real justice with reproductions of several of the collages, close-ups and fantastic production values, that at once manage to make the book seem both intimate and significant. I not only loved reading this book, I loved holding it and admiring it and turning the pages and smelling the ink. It’s that kind of book.
     In summary, The Paper Garden is simply a beautiful book, in every way. A perfect gift to yourself, or others.
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review on, July 16, 2011:
This is not only a fascinating biography of life in the 1700's (her life spanned most of the century) but also a rare portrait of a female artist.
      read the full review

review by Patrice Ryan on "Womens Nook" Website, December 5, 2010:
I’m always in awe of women’s stories and this one I find particularly appealing.
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review on "Armchair Delights" Website, December 15, 2010:
I will say this. If you're wanting to give a truly exquisite and beautiful present to a friend, go no further than this.
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review on Clare Calvet's Book of the Week, ABC Local, December 17, 2010:
A truly fascinating biography of the 18th century botanical artist - Mary Granville Pendarves Delany (1700 - 1788). An extraordinary story . . .
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review in Channel: North Shore's Monthly Magazine, Issue 6, Dec. 2010-Jan. 2011:
The Paper Garden is a profound and beautiful examination of the nature of creativity and art.
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from Cheryl Jorgenson's Author Blog, January 6, 2011:
     Scribe, a publishing house based in Melbourne, has recently offered the reading public one of the best arguments against the ebook that I have seen all year, in its exquisite hard-covered edition of The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life Work At 72 by Molly Peacock. . . .
     This book is a treasure for many reasons. It is beautiful with its glossy paper and startling examples of the paper artist's work… in fact "The Paper Garden" is itself is a work of art. It is an unusual biography because not only does it include the author in the story, it implies parallels in the author's and subject's lives. This is sometimes disconcerting, but the biography contains such a delightful cast of real characters from the eighteenth century and a pleasing reconstruction of those times, we can allow what sometimes seems idiosyncratic in its assemblage. And most satisfying, it is a meditation on art, and the ability of a remarkable woman to live her art into very old age. Nice one, Scribe.
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The Paper Garden was excerpted in Your Garden, Autumn 2011.

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Sanguinaria Canadensis collage Mary Delany The Paper Garden