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I was enchanted by the sea anemone illustrations of Giacomo Merculiano and Ernst Haeckel, in the same way as I was enchanted as a child by the illustrations in Peg's fairy book – bright colours, sharp detail, many different things to notice and a kind of magical quality: do such things exist? With anemones the wonder increases when you recognise them as animals rather than flowers.
As a child the fascination was with the fairy story, the imaginary, the fiction. In my sixth decade, the fascination is with the diversity, beauty and surprises of the natural world. Revisiting Peg Maltby's illustrations, I was delighted to find one that included sea anemones, images not unlike those of Merculiano and Haeckel, inhabiting the underwater world of her mermaid, bringing together my worlds at 8 and 68.
 

Giacomo Merculiano: 1893 print

 

Ernst Haeckel: 1904

 

Peg Maltby: Fun under the sea

 

 

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