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By: Melissa Ashley(Author)
389 pages, no illustrations
Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould.
This historical novel, based on the author's extensive research into Elizabeth Gould's archives, 19th century ornithology, the discovery of Australia's birds and the print-making technology of lithography at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man. Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate, and mother to an ever-growing brood of children. In a golden age of discovery, her artistry breathed wondrous life into countless exotic new species, including Charles Darwin's Galapagos finches.
In The Birdman's Wife a naïve young girl who falls in love with an ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to the colonies to discover Australia's 'curious' birdlife.
An indelible portrait of an extraordinary woman overlooked by history – until now.
"An exquisite reimagining of the untold story of Elizabeth Gould which restores her and her bird illustrations to centre stage during a period when the passion for natural history and discovery of new species was sweeping the world."
– Inga Simpson, author of Where the Trees Were, Nest and Mr Wigg
"At the opening of The Birdman's Wife, Elizabeth Gould alights from a carriage into an exotic place of unknown creatures and a meeting that would change her life. We witness the growth of this inquisitive and intelligent woman as a wife, mother and artist, the avian specimens she illustrates mirroring her own remarkable flight. Melissa Ashley's lush work is a beautiful testimony to this overlooked – but brave and talented – female artist."
– Jessica White, author of Curious Intimacy and Entitlement
"I completely fell in love with this book."
– Susan Duncan, author of Salvation Creek, The House at Salvation Creek and The Briny Café
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