Saturday, 21 April 2012

Moths in Darwin's town

I've been in Shrewsbury at the annual cartoon festival in my undeserved role as a patron of the Professional Cartoonists' Organisation. It's an excellent event and the town is a lovely place in which to play truant. Thanks to Lindsey Besley, whose husband Rupert is an ancient pal and outstanding cartoonist, we visited Shrewsbury Museum and saw these wonderful bed-hangings.

They are modern reproductions and therefore glow with colour in a manner which would long have faded from the 1593 originals. The patterns are based on Tudor work and, my goodness, entomology was big for 16th century seamstresses.  In Hamlet, it was flights of angels which sang the sweet prince to his rest. In Shakespeare's real-life world, it was clearly butterflies and moths.

I could fill the blog with this sort of thing. The museum also has a heart-shaped Butterfly Dish, so-called because of its lepidopterous pattern, and in a modern clothes boutique on our walk, there was a lovely party dress covered with butterflies. I wonder if they deter clothes moths (of which there are VERY few species, I must add. I do not want to give moths a bad name).

But I won't go on. Instead, for those who wonder about the hold which moths have on me,  I'll end with a letter described at the museum. As you can see, it starts: "I am dying by inches from not having anyone to talk to about insects." The author, who commendably uses every inch of his paper by cross-writing, was Charles Darwin.  

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