When looking back over these earliest illustrations, I am struck by how soft and muted the colours are compared to the ones that I am working on at the moment. I think that the colours reflect my earlier tentative approach to the book and how daunted I was in undertaking this project in the beginning. I was so overwhelmed at one point, that I divided my copy of Finnegans Wake into three sections and put two of them out of sight. I put a new cover on the first section and carried it around with me wherever I went. When I travelled to Italy in the summer, I always packed my book, art materials and the A3 hardback sketchbook that I was working in first, and then added my clothing, etc., into the space left in my cabin bag. I travelled light, and could survive for up to three weeks with what I brought. I chose clothing by weight and ability to roll into the tiniest of spaces because my art materials were my priority.
My favourite part of page 12 is the following passage:
Though the length of the land lies under liquidation(floote!) and there's nare a hairbrow nor an eyebush on this glaubrous phace of Herrschuft Whatarwelter she'll loan a vesta and hire some peat and sarch the shores her cockles to heat and she'll do all a turfwoman can to piff the business on. Paff. To puff the blaziness on. Poffpoff. And even if Humpty shell fall frumpty times as awkward again in the beardsboosoloom of all our grand remonstrancers there'll be iggs for the brekkers come to mournhim, sunny side up with care.
The little hen is minding her eggs as the flood approaches and threatens them. The three eggs symbolise Issy and the twins, Shem and Shaun. In the background the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park looms above them. The fort, which still stands today was built on the site of a previous star fort known as Wharton’s Folly. Joyce alludes to Jonathan Swift’s Epigram on an Irish Magazine, in which he rebuked Sir Tomas Wharton, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, for building a fort to defend a land that had been picked dry. Belinda the hen is picking through the midden, but what is left to pick?
BEHOLD! a proof of Irish sense;
Here Irish wit is seen!
When nothing's left, that's worth defence,
We build a magazine.
For this week's challenge, we want you to focus on just one sentence. Here it is: "And even if Humpty shell fall frumpty times as awkward again in the beardsboosoloom of all our grand remonstrancers there'll be iggs for the brekkers come to mourn- him, sunny side up with care." Tell us what you make of it as a self-contained sentence, in the context of the rest of the page, or in terms of all you've read so far. Remember, there are no right answers: we just want to hear your thoughts (and if you've got things to say about anything else on this page, please let us know that too!)