Pegasus the winged horse and Capricorn the goat are constellations of the northern sky (hemisphere boreal). My watercolour painting is inspired both by the beauty of the night skies and by the imagery of traditional astrology, naming the constellations after mythological figures, animals and other interesting things! Nearby are the constellations of Aquarius and Delphinus represented by the water-carrier and the dolphin.
One of the best known characters from Greek mythology, Pegasus the winged horse was sired by Poseidon (who as well as ruling the seas, is also known as the horse-tamer) and foaled by the Gorgon, Medusa.
Often referred to as Capricornus, it’s name is Latin for horned goat or goat horn. Usually represented by a goat with a fish’s tail, the constellation has been identified in this way since the bronze age. Its associated Greek myth is as the goat that suckled the baby Zeus. Its broken horn became the cornucopia or horn of plenty. Capricorn is the smallest constellation of the zodiac.
Through Greek mythology, Aquarius is sometimes seen as Deucalion, the son of Prometheus who built a ship to survive an imminent flood, and sometimes as Ganymede who was taken to Mount Olympus by Zeus to act as cup-carrier to the gods. In Babylonian star catalogues, the constellation represents the god Ea ‘The Great One’ holding an overflowing water-vessel. Aquarius is one of the oldest of the recognised constellations.
Delphinus is the Latin for dolphin. In one Greek myth, Delphinus is a character sent by Poseidon to find Amphitrite, a beautiful sea nymph who he wanted to marry. When Delphinus finds her and she becomes Poseideon’s wife, Poseidon puts the figure of a dolphin into the stars. In another myth, a dolphin saves Greek poet Arion of Lesbos from drowning when he throws himself from his ship into the sea to escape a mutinous crew.
When you visit the University of Oxford’s Natural History Museum its a job to know where to look - at the marvellous exhibits? Or at the magnificent architecture? In this painting you'll spot a dodo, some dinosaur footprints, the swifts that nest in the tower, a dinosaur skeleton and so much more! My favourite bit is the frog in the jar. What's your's? The title comes from Charles Darwin's book 'The Origin of Species' in which he wrote of his theory of evolution by natural selection: "There is grandeur in this view of life..." The print is last one of a limited edition (of 4) hand-made drypoint tinted with watercolour - 450mm x 700mm.
This painting celebrates the incredible work of my hero, the scandalously unsung Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace came up with the theory of natural selection independently of Darwin and established the study of biogeography.
This painting is no longer available, and is shown here for your viewing pleasure and for the glory of Wallace.
Read more about Wallace here.