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Top, Another long wet summer with the kids indoors; Bottom, Marie Antoinette's mammoth
(Copyright 2012, Nic Carlyle. All rights reserved.)

Nic Carlyle

 

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THE MAMMOTH PAGE

Another long wet summer with the kids stuck indoors...

I intended this as a joke about parental exasperation, but if anyone wants to see it as narrow-minded patriarchy attacking the creativity of the young female artist, so be it...  It was inspired by this fantastic juvenile drawing on a chalk-board in Wandsworth Museum. Just three legs... no wonder they died out.

Marie Antoinette and her pet mammoth

It's true, I tell you, every word! A Siberian mammoth calf was found intact in the late eighteenth century, and taken from the permafrost.  It lay in a shed besides a serf's hut, from summer to the next spring, by which time it had thawed so gently that it was roused from it cryogenic state.  This revived wonder was presented to the nobleman on whose estate it was found, and thus to the Tsar, who made a present of it to the new French queen. And as she played with her lambs, dressed as a shepherdess, she gamboled with her baby mammoth. Bedecked with ribbons, garlanded with flowers, the mammoth was often seen meandering through the formal gardens of Versailles. And later on, it fed about twenty san coluttes for at least a month. (Everyone I have repeated this tale to has been bemused and dismissive, but with a momentary flicker of self-doubt that is a wonder to behold. Hee, Hee)  The truth is that one week I bought a plastic mammoth, and the next a model of Marie Antoinette; they were both left on my desk, when, lo and behold, my main muse, the Fabrication Fairy, bit me.  The rest is history... or not, as the case may be.

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