My series of butterfly pieces are inspired by a little known Edwardian Lepidopterist, or collector of butterflies,
Margaret Elizabeth Fountaine, born 16 May 1862 in Norwich, England; died 21 April 1940 in Trinidad.
She was an inspirational woman of her time, who travelled extensively through Europe, South Africa, India, Tibet, America, Australia and the West Indies, collecting and illustrating many species of butterflies. She was also a pioneering lepidopterist; she raised many of the butterflies from eggs or caterpillars, producing specimens not only for her collections but for release back in to the wild. Her extensive collection is housed at Norwich Castle Museum.
With this collection was a sealed box, with instructions that it was to remain unopened until 1978. When this was opened, it contained twelve of her journals from 1878 until 1940 when she died.
I acquired two books which published extracts from the journals: Love among the Butterflies - published by Collins 1980 & Butterflies and Late Loves - published by Collins 1986. These journals document her love of butterflies and the men in her life, her heartbreak and her romances.
In my work I have tried to recreate the elements that made up her life; the research, loves won and lost, the specimens and her illustrations, ageing and recreating elements from her past to give the viewer the ability to recreate the moment the sealed box was opened.