The Birdman’s Wife
by Melissa Ashley
A woman overshadowed by history steps back into the light . . .
Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man.
Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate, and mother to an ever-growing brood of children. In a golden age of discovery, her artistry breathed wondrous life into hundreds of exotic new species, including Charles Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches.
In The Birdman’s Wife, the naïve young girl who falls in love with a demanding and ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to collect and illustrate Australia’s ‘curious’ birdlife.
In this indelible portrait, an extraordinary woman overshadowed by history steps back into the light where she belongs.
About the Author
‘The Birdman’s Wife is an exquisite reimagining of the untold story of Elizabeth Gould which restores her and her bird illustrations to centre stage during a period when the passion for natural history and discovery of new species was sweeping the world.’ – Inga Simpson, author of Where the Trees Were, Nest and Mr Wigg
‘I completely fell in love with this book. ’ – Susan Duncan, author of Salvation Creek
‘At the opening of The Birdman’s Wife, Elizabeth Gould alights from a carriage into an exotic place of unknown creatures and a meeting that would change her life. We witness the growth of this inquisitive and intelligent woman as a wife, mother and artist, the avian specimens she illustrates mirroring her own remarkable flight. Melissa Ashley’s lush work is a beautiful testimony to this overlooked — but brave and talented — female artist.’ – Jessica White, author of A Curious Intimacy and Entitlement