The Birdman’s Wife
Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds, but her legacy was eclipsed by her husband’s fame. The Birdman’s Wife gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit, who was so much more than the woman behind the man.
In England’s golden age of discovery, as John Gould and his peers fuelled popular imagination with their scientific findings, Elizabeth juggled an artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate and mother. Elizabeth Gould continually defied convention, eventually embarking on a trailblazing expedition to collect and illustrate Australia’s ‘curious’ birdlife.
The Herald Sun stated that The Birdman’s Wife is a ‘fascinating story that is long overdue’, while The Courier Mail delighted in the fact that ‘the world can finally meet Elizabeth Gould in the flesh – or the fiction flesh, at least’. Better Reading commended the way that ‘Melissa Ashley conjures convincing and vivid images that transport us back to another time and place’, while Jessica White, author of A Curious Intimacy and Entitlement, believed that ‘Melissa Ashley’s lush work is a beautiful testimony to an overlooked – but brave and talented’ female artist’.