19 Women Project: MARY HOWITT

I came across a series of books by Mary Botham Howitt while searching the University of Florida's amazing Digital Collections site for something else and got curious about this prolific woman, of whom I had never heard. This digital collage is the result. 

Howitt wrote, edited or translated over one hundred books, though she's perhaps best known for writing the brief poem "The Spider and the Fly." I have fond memories of reading it to a young friend in the edition with Tony deTerlizzi's illustrations, which though fabulous might be snarky and Goth enough to horrify Howitt for all I know.

The spiders in my collage are a nod to the poem. In addition, I gave Mary a nice orchard painting (by British artist George Clausen) to rest on and some bits of plant life. The background is a recoloring of William Morris's classic Acanthus wallpaper design. The beautiful photograph of Howitt was used as the frontispiece for her 1889 Autobiography. You can't see it well in my image, but the soft folds of her skin and the equally soft folds of her bonnet and shawl are beyond lovely.

© Suzanne Fox 2020
May not be downloaded or reproduced without permission
Sources: stock photographs plus: