Thursday, September 3, 2009

Red Admirals in the Garden

Two days ago a couple of Red Admiral butterflies appeared in the garden. Interesting that the scientific name for the group of butterflies they belong to is Vanessa. It appears that they are named after the girl's name. This name was coined by Jonathan Swift as a nickname for his female friend Ester Vanhomrigh (Van and Essa).

There has been much speculation about Swift's relationship with Vanessa dn with Stella, the other lady in his life. Recently I wrote about attending Pat Dunne's show Only A Woman's Hair which dealt with the relationship.

There is a painting called Vanessa (1868) John Everett Millais in Sudley House, Liverpool. It is a fancy portrait depicting Jonathan Swift's Esther Vanhomrigh. Millais was one of the Pre-Raphalites who feature in the current (or recent? - I haven't been watching) Desperate Romantics TV series about the Pre-Raphalite Brotherhood of artists.

Everything is connected.

1 comment:

Honor Rynne said...

"Only connect". Another lovely butterfly photo, Michael. Those particular flowers seem to be a magnet for butterflies. And what an interesting link leading to Vanessa. She does look rather sad in that imagined portrait, and who can blame her?The Romantics programme you missed was tagged "Carry On Up the Easel" by one critic!