• This installation was commissioned by the Yale Center for British Art to accompany the exhibit Mrs. Delaney and Her Circle

    A recent exhibit at the Yale Museum of British Art, Mrs. Delany and her Circle, tells the story of Mrs. Delany, a highborn lady from the 18th century and a masterful designer, collage artist, embroiderer and wonderful friend. The exhibit was gloriously produced but what stopped me in my tracks was an art installation in a room at the very end by Jane Wildgoose, a British artist, which celebrated the friendship of Mrs. Delany with her great friend the Duchess of Portland Ms. Wildgoose pulled together what was called in the 18th century a promiscuous assemblage, a name this diary proudly bears.The room contained on one side handpainted floral wallpaper with a few butterflies attached to the flowers, one side a set up of an 18th century auction viewing, one side wood boxes with collections of shells and butterflies. The last side was the largest source of amazement. Yes, an assemblage in a large wooden case that filled the entire wall. Beautifully arranged curiosities: faintly marbled elephant eggs, stuffed songbirds, a small picture by an Indian artist who sewed with human hair, real coral and garlands of flowers made from tiny shells. Wonder at the natural world, a desire to own a piece of it, haunting sentiment, a love of natural beauty and its opposite: all these were encompassed there.