Saturday, 24 May 2014

Margaret Flockton - Update

Margaret Flockton’s name will be honoured again today, Saturday 24 May, when this year’s entries in the Margaret Flockton Award for Scientific Botanical Illustration go on show. The exhibition at the Maiden Theatre, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney will run for 3 weeks, until 15 June. Pre-existing commitments in Melbourne mean that I can't be at the opening but I'll be going to see the show when in Sydney next week.
Forward progress on publishing 'A Fragrant Memory' has stalled, with a resounding silence from the two publishers approached before I headed off to Hong Kong on 'Gran duty' over two months ago. It's disappointing and frustrating but there are still a few avenues to try. The difficulties of finding a publisher explain why self-publishing is booming - but this book definitely needs a publisher able to handle its extensive pictorial content, so patience must prevail.

EXCITING UPDATE, 12 Feb 2016 - A publishing contract has been signed with Wakefield Press in Adelaide. 'A Fragrant Memory' should be available in August 2016.

Meanwhile, a couple of interesting new contacts popped up while I was in Hong Kong. The nurse who once cared for one of Margaret’s great-nieces was presented with one of Margaret’s watercolours way back then, and has sent me a digital photo. An image of another painting, this time by Margaret’s mother Isabel, was sent by a South Australian couple who've long held the picture in their family. The Brookwood Asylum records for Margaret's Aunt Anna have arrived and tell a sad tale. Relevant details from the three developments are now incorporated into the book.
At one point it was suspected that Margaret's first cousin Zoe Louise Ashby (1865-1937) might have been the custodian of Margaret's kingfisher painting. The current owners of that painting have gone scouting for Zoe's grave at Byfleet, Surrey and have sent me several pictures.

Zoe, a few years younger than Margaret, always lived at home with her mother (née Mary Webster Flockton). Because Zoe left virtually no digital footprint of her own on the world, the Byfleet churchyard photos are included here as a small tribute to her. The thoughtfulness of Jonathan & Joan Foster, my newly-discovered friends in Surrey, is much appreciated! They even took a primrose from their garden to place on Zoe's grave.
All these little snippets have added further depth to my understanding of Margaret's life. I welcome contact from anyone else whose path has crossed with Margaret Flockton's family. Those interested in the book about her are welcome to join the waiting list for 'A Fragrant Memory' - just email me. As indicated above, the book should be available in August 2016.

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