Jeanne d'Arc & Le Mort d'Arthur

It was a very emotional challenge to read the last words of Joan of Arc or I should say Jeanne d'Arc. It seems callous in a way to use the anglicized version of her name when she loved France so dearly and was persecuted so horrifically by the English. It is easy to read her life as if it were a fairytale of sorts but it is incredible to think that this young woman actually existed, that places in France remain to this day which were important to her. 

Joan's birthplace is now a museum. The village church where she attended Mass is on the right behind the trees.

Now it is time for something a little different. Le Mort d'Arthur read in reverential memory of Edward Burne-Jones.


Thank goodness for the internet

Countess of Castiglione Skirt

It has been a very busy time for me over the past year with my preparation for my show. Sometimes my only release is to turn my mind off and press 'pay now.' I am therefore very glad that fantastic little shops like Boudoir Queen exist. I didn't have time to post when I was getting ready for my exhibition but I love my new acquisition this stunning one of a kind 'Countess of Castiglione' skirt.

Joan of Arc In Her Own Words

I am incredibly excited. I can't sleep and just finished a beautiful novel on the life of Edward Burne-Jones which I highly recommend. 

My first painting for my new collection is to be a small portrait of Joan of Arc in the Tudor style. I know a lot about her life already but if I am going to add a rich symbolic layering to the painting I will need to know her story down to its tiniest details. To that end I have just downloaded Joan of Arc: In Her Own Words to my kindle. How fascinating to hear her own interpretation of her life's work translated from her own trial transcripts. There is always so much that can colour an authors representation of their subject and I hope that this way of looking at Joan's life will give me a kind of insight that I just couldn't attain from any other source.


In Full Swing

My last exhibition has just come down and it was really wonderful to see so many works finding loving homes. It is a real joy meeting the people who connect with these pieces and sometimes I even get to see them in situ in their new homes which is truly a thrill. Now my mind turns towards my next body of work.

The theme of my next exhibition was inspired by my recent trip to England. There Sherwood Forest, Norman keeps and Pre-Raphaelite art wove poetry around my soul and so I have decided to give in to the desire to create a collection of works based on historical heroines.

I recently discovered the poem 'The Lady of Shalott' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and it struck a deep and resonant chord within me. Throughout my life certain personalities assert themselves again and again and Joan of Arc, Cleopatra and Ophelia are a few examples of this. I can't wait to see the works begin to take shape.

Just this moment I have purchased from a very lovely lady this incredible work;

I couldn't think of anything more delightful to place a reworked butterfly on top of!

I have also purchased an online course by Professor Bonnie Wheeler called 'Medieval Heroines In History And Literature;' 

This course presents the lives, based on the latest scholarly interpretations, of four medieval women who still shimmer in the modern imagination: Heloise, the abbess and mistress of Abelard; the prophet Hildegard of Bingen; the legendary Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine; and the woman-warrior 
and saint, Joan of Arc.

I'm on my way.

One Night Only

The Dragonfruit cactus flower opens for one night only and then it is gone. The flowers are huge and extremely ornate and these ones all flowered on the same night last week. We were fortunate enough to  go outside and stumble upon them. You can't tell it from the pictures but they are as big as dinner plates!


Clock Lamp!

Vintage Brass Oxford Clock/Lamp Stag

Ah Etsy thank you for your cornucopia of strange wonders


Flights of Fancy

Fern Petrie
Flights of Fancy
7 – 22 March 2013

Flights of Fancy is a whimsical peek into the world of childhood fantasy unbridled by science or logic. In childhood imagination is given full reign. Like the lifespan of a butterfly this is an all too brief moment in life but an awe-inspiringly beautiful one. In childhood we reach beyond ourselves and embellish everyday existence until imaginary friends share our dreams, pets take on human characteristics and a simple box of costumes can transform the lowliest child into a Knight Templar or the Tsar of Russia. To dress in the costumes of countries, don masks and slip into animal suits (much like the transitions in many fairy tales), the young imagination explores other lives and other worlds with their fantasy companions.

In this exhibition I have chosen three Victorian and Edwardian children’s texts to represent the importance of external influences in the construction of imaginary worlds.  Chums is an illustrated boys annual from 1808 full of who-dunnits, brain teasers and stories of the colonies, The Captain’s Children describes the adventures of a group of children who travel to Brazil and find delightful talking birds and magical places and Perrault’s Fairy Tales is comprised of such loved stories as Little Red Riding Hood and The Frog Prince. Each of these books represent the joys of generations of readers, thousands of little minds all over the world who have been touched by the written word and made them their own. 

I decided on such early children’s literature to correspond with the Victorian cabinet cards on which my works are based. Cabinet cards were posed Victorian photographs where a multitude of props and costumes were utilized to give an overall impression of how the sitter desired to be represented. Roughly painted and sometimes clumsily draped backdrops, pieces of furniture and symbolic items were all grouped together to create this treasured memento.  In my collection I wish to reveal the constructed world of the imagination not as a cohesive whole, rather as a series of items tacked together from disparate sources assembled in a staged still to represent the mind of the child or children in question.  There are also a select number of images which deal with the effect of these early influences upon the adult mind. ‘The Resurrected Heart’ and ‘Queen for a Day’ both talk about the idea of true love; a concept which as young children we first encounter in fairy tales, but which takes on a more dramatic complexity when faced in real life.

Lastly the idea of collecting memories and storing them away for posterity can be viewed in the framed butterflies and moths which have been meticulously varnished and then drawn upon with pen and ink. They rest upon the covers of the volumes stated above and along with two scorpions are small treasures which bridge the gap between the real and the imagined, moving outside of time just as the images of the Victorian children in their newly acquired dream worlds have done beside them.

Explanations Of New Works

Prelude To A Dream Oil on Canvas 152 x 91 cm 2013

All of us have rituals which we live by. Some are an intrinsic part of childhood, a short but important part of life on which we build our understanding of the world. In this work I wanted to capture the joy of the small but significant ritual of the bed time story and try to impart the feeling of security, happiness and wonder it brought me as a child. Dressing up like ones favorite characters in a book is a special treat for any child and I have chosen to show these children in the moments before bed when the story has been mentioned but is yet to be read. Their anticipation has become a palpable thing. Upon the book perches a brilliant blue butterfly, the symbol of the words about to take flight in their imaginations. Around them many other butterflies flutter. These represent the memories of other past stories, snippets of inspiration, moments of pure joy that remain from other evenings. They will stay with the children forever, even as they grow up and fill the world of their dreams with wonder.

Master Durand’s Tall Tale Moth Book Pages Indian Ink And Varnish On Vintage Book Cover 20 x 13 cm 2013

Ever since I was a child I have loved Victorian boxed butterflies and insects. There is something very endearing about the Victorian love of specimen collecting. In this group of works I have looked at the interest children have both in collecting interesting natural objects and the importance of capturing stories that are precious and preserving them. This butterfly tells a story mapped out in pen and ink upon varnished wings to give life to a moment in time.

-A “Rambling” Story.-A boy of twelve, named Durand, was recently arrested at Lens, in France, for travelling in a railway train without a ticket. He told a remarkable story of having left Paris with two companions, who visited with him most of the seaside resorts of the north of France, the money being furnished by one of the youths, who had “found” 1,000 francs (about 40 pounds). Finally, they shut Durand in a bathing machine and deserted him. On getting out, he took the train to Paris in order to return to his parents. On inquiry, it was discovered that the entire story was an invention of Master Durand. It is true that his parents reside in Paris, but, on being referred to, they explained that their son is much given to making hare-brained excursions of this kind when he gets money or is sent on an errand, and he is frequently being brought back from similar pilgrimages. Between his taste for adventure and his tendency to fiction it is difficult to decide whether this boy would do better as an explorer or a novelist.

This extraordinary excerpt from Chums boys annual is just the kind of thing that children around the world dream of doing. It’s wonderfully illustrative of the lengths some children will go to to construct an imaginary world for themselves and one must wonder whatever became of Master Durand? This butterfly sits on the cover of Evelyn Sharp's 1903 novel ‘The Children Who Ran Away.’

Master Of The High Seas Oil on Canvas 122 x 92 cm 2013

Adventure is foremost in the mind of this young child. Pinned to the nursery wall is a simplified map of the British Imperial Federation which displays British colonies in pink. For Christmas 1879 this little child has been given a treasure, ‘The Captains Children’ by Mrs. D. P. Sanford. Dreams of travelling to extraordinary places fuel this young imagination and the strange creatures in the novel serve to make the prospect of the journey even more tantalizing. Two groups of objects rest on the floor at  the child’s feet. The nest containing eggs on the left symbolizes the knowledge of past generations and the moon on the right represents possibilities which can only be dreamed of.

Queen For A Day Oil on Canvas 152 x 91cm 2013

Fairytales tell us that our one true love must be out there somewhere. This painting tells a story of the rejection of fleeting love. Behind the figure Queen Elizabeth I’s poem ‘When I Was Fair And Young’ talks of a woman who rejects her suitors as a young woman and repents of her pride as she grows older. I like to think of this figure as a strong independent woman who knows her own heart and though brightly coloured birds symbolic of her suitors try to attract her gaze the passion in her heart has yet to be kindled.  She waits in her castle of stone for the one who will be her prince charming.
When I Was Fair And Young

When I was fair and young, then favor graced me.
Of many was I sought their mistress for to be.
But I did scorn them all and answered them therefore:

Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more.
How many weeping eyes I made to pine in woe,
How many sighing hearts I have not skill to show,
But I the prouder grew and still this spake therefore:

Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.
Then spake fair Venus’ son, that proud victorious boy,
Saying: You dainty dame, for that you be so coy,
I will so pluck your plumes as you shall say no more:

Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.
As soon as he had said, such change grew in my breast
That neither night nor day I could take any rest.
Wherefore I did repent that I had said before:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more. 
Queen Elizabeth I


Flights of Fancy Opening Night

The opening night for 'Flights of Fancy' was a really special experience for me. It was my first solo show with Linton and Kay and the work looked stunning in the renovated Victorian building which is now a beautiful gallery. I was thrilled that so many people attended and though I was nervous I did a little talk about a couple of the works and the meanings behind them. Later people told me they would like to hear more as there are so many references which are not immediately apparent. I love Renaissance painting and the use of artists to imbue meaning into the works and tell a story has greatly influenced my own work.


Flights of Fancy Interview in X-press Magazine


Flights of Fancy

Flights of Fancy, Fern Petrie’s new collection of fantastical paintings and sculpture, goes on display at Linton and Kay Galleries at The Old Perth Technical School this Thursday, March 7. The exhibition runs until March 22. Go to lintonandkay.com.au for more information.

Some people never grow all the way up. That’s no bad thing; keeping the connection to childhood fantasy alive is the key to creativity, not to mention a useful corrective for the woes of the world.
One of those people is New Zealand-born, Perth-based artist Fern Petrie, whose latest collection draws inspiration from 19th century children’s literature and other phantasmagoria to draw the viewer back to a place of wonder and inspiration.

The exhibition is an impressive accomplishment, especially for someone who, by her own admission, only started seriously painting a few years ago. Formerly a printmaker, Petrie had all but given up on art when, while working at Jackson’s Art Supplies, she was inspired to pick up the brush.
“I’ve always wanted to paint,” she explains. “But for some reason it never happened. It always seemed too difficult. Then, when I kind of lost sense of myself by coming to another country and leaving everything that was me behind, I kind of felt free to try something new. I wanted to work in colour; I was very monochrome before. I felt that I needed to put more sunshine into my life. One thing led to another.”

In a remarkably short period of time, Petrie has earned a reputation as an insightful and evocative artist, something that this latest exhibition proves beyond any doubt.

“This particular collection is all about childhood fantasy and living in a fantasy world,” Petrie tells us. “That’s why the colours are so bright and there’s so many interesting little things going on in the background. I really love Italian art, especially Renaissance art and surrealist art. In all of those things, like Maori art, everything in the picture has symbolism. I really like that, so I tried to add lots of small symbols that represent feelings and emotions.”
Ultimately, her goal is to help us return to a time in our lives when the walls between fantasy and reality were thin.
“When you’re a child, everything is open to you; anything could happen in the world. You read these books about adventures and stories and feel like you’re actually living them. There’s no separation between real life and that fantasy world. I just wanted to connect with that innocent, imaginative side, because I think that life these days can be pretty banal, and you have to deal with the mundanity of life. We have to remember that there’s so much more to life than that. When you’re young and you read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings there’s something within them that stays with you, and it can’t be rubbed out by all the days of drudgery and all the awful things that go on in life - you’ve got those seeds of something great inside of you, and I just wanted to express that.”



'Flights of Fancy'
 new paintings and three-dimensional works by

MARCH 7 - 21

You and a guest are warmly invited to the

OPENING NIGHT 6 - 7.30 pm  THURSDAY 7th March 


Flights of Fancy is a whimsical peek into the world of childhood imagination, unfettered by science or logic. In childhood we reach beyond reality until imaginary friends share our dreams, pets take on human characteristics and a simple box of costumes can transform a child into a Knight Templar or the Tsar of Russia.
Through the use of Victorian and Edwardian children’s books, reclaimed toys and, as the inspiration for my paintings, cabinet cards of Victorian children, I have strived to speak of moments in life where dreams seemed possible and our fantasies were close enough to touch.
Fern Petrie, February 2013

two-dear-hearts-oil-on-canvas-122-x-92cm-2012-300-dpi.jpg garden-of-the-enchantress-(front)-300-dpi.jpg imaginary-friends-oil-on-canvas-31-x-23cm-2012-300-dpi.jpg

RSVP ESSENTIAL [acceptances only please]
rsvp@lintonandkay.com.au or 64654314

Please contact contact the gallery for more information on exhibtion works -  perth@linton&kay.com.au

In 2001,New Zealand born artist Fern Petrie graduated from Te Toi Hou; the Maori Arts department of Auckland University, where she studied under two iconic New Zealand artists; Brett Graham and Selwyn Muru.
In March 2004 she held her first solo exhibition outside of University; Second Skin which explored her interest in recycling found objects and extending their life. Memory, loss and growth were represented through reworked dolls, many of which she owned as a child.
After moving to Australia she exhibited at the Moores Building [2009] and it was then that she began collecting cabinet cards and her first large scale painting in this style ‘Forget Me Not’ was chosen as a finalist for the 2010 Albany Art Prize. Many solo exhibitions followed each delving into the two dominant interests in her life; her Maori and European ancestry.


Level 1/ 137 St Georges Tce WA 6000
Tel: +61 64654314