Re: What is Beautiful?
In a message dated 97-02-26 09, Clarence, responding to Celia observed,
<< What is beautiful is certainly in your eye and your eye only. One thing
that the AIS Judges Handbook does NOT do is set standards for beauty. >>
And I, in the aftermath of the discussions of EDITH WOLFORD (Hager,'86), and
of Graham Stuart Thomas, have been thinking about perception of form in TBs,
and about the impact of iris names upon these perceptions.
My strong preference is for the more austere forms of older irises in which
the relation of the parts to the whole is clearly apparent and the textural
effects which interest me are shown to advantage, however one of my favorite
irises, also by Mr. Hager, is LEDA'S LOVER, than which nothing could be more
loose, whirling, sensual and exuberant. Very similar in some respects to
EDITH WOLFORD, but white. Encountering this bloom I recall the myth, and
especially William Butler Yeats's poem treating the ravishment and it's
tragic implications, "Leda and the Swan." I am aware that I have been
persuaded to reexamine my opinions of form by Mr. Hager's masterful selection
of an evocative name. The name, in short, has conferred a special legitimacy
on a form which otherwise might be found eccentric. Mr. Hager has created a
context for his lovely and unusual white iris. Certainly, that which is
succesful in one color, especially white, may be less so in a blue and yellow
variegata, but one wonders if another name might have had different effect.
How about, for instance, AVA GARDNER?
It strikes me as ironic, but hardly astonishing, that Graham Stuart Thomas,
chief of the Rose Tories, as Michael Pollan calls the militant antique rose
fanciers in his wonderful book of garden essays, SECOND THOUGHTS, is quite
appreciative of loose, sensual, "sumptuous and ravishing form" (Pollan's
quote) in the rose, where it represents the older configuration, and less
fond of it in the iris, in which it represents a modern direction.
Anner Whitehead, Richmond, VA (speaking)
Henry Hall email@example.com