JOHN DONNE


I used to play records when I was working. I happened onto this recording by Christopher Hassall, the English actor, of Donne on one side and Wordsworth on the other. As I listened, those poems literally began taking over my hand, and I began to draw those very romantic, although also somewhat macabre, wash drawings. I began making images to match the poems.


Hearing that marvelous voice, one would understand why I was moved to do the work. It was the music of it, the performance of it, and of course that marvelous combination of courtly and vernacular language. I didn't notice the religious connotations, because his sentiment was so physical.


I was vulnerable to these sonnets because of personal and family travails: my grandmother, mother, daughter and closest friend were all part of this grinding daily responsibility. So these moody drawings, which everybody loved so much, were triggered by anguish as well as love.


 


 




Hexastichon Bibliopolae


YEAR: 1958 SIZE: 15 X 22 SIGNED: LR W/IN IMAGE TITLED: LL W/IN IMAGE CANCELLATION PROOF


Donne, who was ordained at St. Paul's Cathedral, London, in 1615 ad became its den in 1621, was taken seriously ill in the autumn of 1630. He died the following yhear and was buried in the cathedral on 3 April. Shortly before his death, he posed for a drawing to be made of him in his shroud as he wanted it to be folded. It was later for the sculpture upon which Wayne based this print. A setuplet, written by John Marriott in priase of Donne, was used as the preface to the first collection of Donne's poetry, which Marriott published in 1633: Wayne therefore used the Marriott poem in her livre d'artists as well.


 



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