Dear Nightingale Ceramic Tile
Created by Jane Lee McCracken for a major new exhibition Making Paradise: Exploring the concept of Eden through Art & Islamic Garden Design at the Aga Khan Centre Gallery, London, Dear Nightingale is the second design for her ceramic tile diptych which features her original Biro drawings.
Made of the highest quality china this tile design is inspired by Attar's 12th century poem The Conference of the Birds.
- Fine English bone china tile
- 15 x 15cm
- Design and art by Jane Lee McCracken
- Made in Stoke-on-Trent, England by The New English
- Hand decorated
- For use as wall tiles/framed artwork/coaster (rubber feet for coaster option supplied)
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For the Making Paradise exhibition, Aga Khan Centre Gallery artwork Jane was invited by the exhibition's curator Esen Kaya to explore the poem The Conference of the Birds by 12th century Sufi poet, Attar. When she reflects upon Eden, Jane views birds as the epitome of beauty and fragility in all their splendorous, diverse plumage, heralding their presence in the Garden of Paradise with their jubilant song.
The Conference or Canticle of the Birds tells of the Birds of the World gathering to decide who should be their King. The protagonist is the wisest of birds, the Hoopoe which immediately inspired Jane as she encountered this impressive species once, in a place that is dear to her in France. Magnificent birds with their distinctive coral, black and white plumage, their piece de resistance is a pied crown of feathers.
Inspired by her passion for ceramics Jane was compelled to create a diptych of blue tiles, woven with Islamic Patterns. Having read about Samarkand and its blue domes and minarets many years ago in the book Eastern Approaches by Fiztroy McLean she decided to explore the patterned tiles of the opulent Shah-i-Zinda. Also inspired by Nelson Byrd Woltz’s beautiful Garden of Light at the Aga Khan Centre, she researched the tiles from the extraordinary Alhambra Palace.
Aside from the Hoopoe, there are several avian characters featured in the poem therefore Jane researched which species inhabit Iran. She created blue biro drawings for the designs which were sent to prestigious ceramic manufacturers the New English ceramic of Stoke-on-Trent, who produced the tiles for the exhibition.
“It has been a gift to receive the opportunity to make drawings of birds for the exhibition as having just moved house my husband and I are in the process of creating a wildlife garden, so this artwork feels like a celebration of the many avian visitors the garden is already attracting.”
Dear Nightingale 2020
Dear Nightingale depicts one of the world’s most famous songbirds. The tile pattern Jane chose as the foundation of this design is from Shah-i-Zinda and entwined with roses which symbolise the nightingale’s representation in the poem as the lover. However the nightingale known for its alluring song remains tight beaked as it listens to the Hoopoe’s words.
Interlaced through the pattern is a Green Peafowl which represents another member of the avian cast, the peacock. Jane selected this species as they too are exquisite yet unlike the peacock, they are endangered, which reflects her interest in threatened species. Also featured is a Dead Sea Sparrow and a Turtle Dove another species that is listed globally as vulnerable.
Making Paradise exhibition images credit: Jonathan Goldberg
YOU MIGHT LIKE
Dear Hoopoe fine English ceramic tile is available to complete the diptych. Dear Nightingale and Dear Hoopoe are also available as limited edition prints.