Scary rabbits ahoy!
Last night, I sat up far too late trying to read a library book that's due back tomorrow. I've already renewed it once, perhaps even twice. So I know our days as associates and friends are numbered.
The book? Traditional Embroidered Animals, by Sarah Don. It's a compendium of animal embroidery images, including some patterns and plenty of stitch diagrams, for stitchers who are inspired by medieval and Tudor embroidery.
I've been inspired by gorgeous old textiles before. When we were in London last July, I spent whole days in the V and A's Textile Study room, staring at the amazing embroideries, pulling out drawers and gazing at the delights. (If you go to London, slip away and get to the Textile Room. The guards will show you what you can access, and believe me, it's a lot! Give yourself an hour or more, just for that room alone....)
So far, so good, I was thinking... I like the peacock, and love the owl in a pear tree. The rabbit's a bit on the wild and woolly side. But then.... holy frogspawn, batman -- what's this?!
What's going on here?
Apparently it is a youth riding a frog. We are told it comes from Konrad Gesner's collection, Historia Animalium, of 1551. Must have been a wild year, that year of the big frogs. C'mon historians, now's your time to jump up and yell "Allegorical Significance! Allegorical Significance!" Meaning -- "We haven't the faintest idea."