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Linda Feltner <[log in to unmask]>
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SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 12 Feb 2009 08:59:17 -0700
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Yes! Merry Darwin Day to All around the World:
And Happy B-day to Abe as well, of course. Two men who were significant 
in history.

The British mint coined a very nice commemorative to honor him.

A few years ago, we made a point to travel to Charles Darwin's Down 
House, near the village of Downe (south of London). It was our last day 
in England, and we saved the best for last. However, there was a 
temporary sign on the front door stating "Closed for Maintenance". We 
stared forlornly at the sign, then tried to peek in through the windows, 
it was hard to get close to peer in.  A man came out the door and told 
us they were unexpectedly closed due to vaccuuming and lawn mowing, and 
suggest we come back tomorrow. We explained that we would be gone by 
then, and came from the States, in hope of seeing his study.  And, could 
he please tell us which window was his study, we might could peer in. He 
told us, went inside, coming out in only minute, saying that the 
Director invited us in to tour the home, as long as we didn't mind the 
housekeepers doing their job. Well! No problem there!
It was very nice of them to let us in. They gave us the audio wands, 
that allows each individual to listen to an interpretive talk. It was 
very well done (seeing that I am in the interpretive business.). You 
could press a number, and hear a talk about the paintings and 
furnishings in a particular room, or press another and that would talk 
about the natural history, or his life there...

We toured the entire house with no other public there at all. It was as 
if we were walking through a private residence, and expected their kids 
to run through, or hear Emma playing the piano. Viewing his study was a 
profound experience.
We walked the grounds, stood by the greenhouses where so many 
experiments took place; strolled the Sand Walk, where he contemplated 
the world. Words cannot describe the experience.

The English Heritage has re-furbished the house, as the Darwin's lived 
it. It is an amazing feat of Interpretation, and very well done. It was 
a fortunate that one of Darwin's sons (if memory serves), had taken an 
interest in early photography. He took pictures of each room of the 
house. After Emma Darwin died and the house was sold, all the interior 
furnishings were spread throughout the family, and (I believe) his 
scientific library, tools, specimens and other belongings had gone to 
the Museum.  Later on, it was decided (by the historical society - I 
think) to try to collect all the furnishings to restore the house 
interior. It was due to the son's photographs that they were then able 
to duplicate the rooms as they are today. The paintings, the piano (with 
the pot of earthworms on it), the chairs, bookcases, his study...... 
It's Amazing. The authenticity strikes you. The large, old photographs 
are displayed in the hallway upstairs, so you can see for yourself. What 
fortune.  Knowing that, made the experience much more real, as if you 
were walking in someone's private residence, Charles Darwin's no less.

Thanks to the ListServ for bringing all this back to mind for me. It was 
a pleasurable trip down Memory Lane.

Linda M. Feltner Artist, LLC
P.O. Box 325
Hereford, AZ 85615
(520) 803-0538

Glendon Mellow wrote:
> Hi Barb,
> There are so many events happening online today for Darwin' big 
> anniversary (this year is also the 150th anniversary of The Origin of 
> Species 1st publication).  You can follow lots of them easily:
> -Watch for and use the #Darwin hashtag on Twitter to see what people 
> are tweeting about.
> -The BlogForDarwin blogswarm can be found here:  
> -The folks at The Beagle Project will be reporting on many events: 
> -For myself, I'll be live-blogging a new speed-painting of our friend 
> Charles beginning about 3 pm eastern standard.
> Merry Darwin Day everyone!
> -- 
> --
> Glendon Mellow
> The Flying Trilobite <>
> Art in Awe of Science