Brain Pickings

Sylvia Plath’s Drawings


“The pleasure of odds and ends,” in pen, ink, and literary history.

Last week, we found out Queen Victoria was a semi-secret but masterful artist — and she wasn’t the only cultural icon whose artistic talent remained shadowed by her primary claim to fame. London’s Mayor Gallery recently exhibited 44 of Sylvia Plath’s pen and ink sketches that capture her “deepest source of inspiration”: art. The astonishingly adroit drawings, collected in the 2007 anthology Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath’s Art of the Visual (public library), reveal not only the literary icon’s exceptional attention to detail, but also a kind of diverse yet introspective curiosity about the world, from nature to architecture, from intimacy to public life.

Cow near Grantchester

The Bell Jar

Untitled (Male Portrait in Profile)

Cambridge: a view of gables and chimney-pots

Untitled (Cow)

Harbor Cornucopia, Wisconsin

The Ubiquitous Umbrella

Boats of Rock Harbor, Cape Cod

Untitled (Chianti Bottle)

Curious French Cat.

Untitled (Fruit Plate)

Tabac Opposite Palais de Justice

Purple Thistle

Untitled (Study of a Church and Chapel)

The Pleasure of Odds and Ends

For more on Plath’s surprisingly skillful and thoughtful visual art, examined in the context of her literary career, see Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath’s Art of the Visual.

The Telegraph

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