How One Woman Reinvented herself at 72

Table of Contents

Celebrating the Paper Flowers of Mary Delaney

The International Paper Flower Day is on May 14th, and it honors Mary Delany’s birthday and her beautiful botanical collages (decoupage), which she made in the mid-1700s.

Celebrating the Paper

Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

Delany is a true inspiration. She reinvented herself at the age of 72, when she found herself a widow, struggling with financial issues and not knowing what to do next.

She was lucky to have supportive and influential friends, among them, the Duchess of Portland who invited her to live at her estate. It was there that Mary Delany began creating her delicate flower collages. They became very popular with the Duchesses’ friends and acquaintances, and would later become part of the British Museum’s collection.

It’s so hard to restart or to reinvent our lives after 40, 50, or 60, so when I read about Mary not only starting her life again in her 70’s – but doing so with paper flowers – I just had to buy her book! I hear over and over that we should do what we know and I think that Mary Delany’s life was so amazing because of that.

You will love her delicate and realistic-looking work, and it’s hard to believe that they are made only of pieces of paper.

Does art imitate life, or the other way around?

Modern paper flowers have unique designs, bold colors, and are not all trying to imitate nature. Nature is their muse, and they are exquisite in their own right. Today’s paper flower artists are daring with their designs, and they exhibit their work in interesting ways.

When I consider that there’s more to paper flowers than just cheering up a corner of a room, that they’re an art form, I can see the artistry clearer. They’re the creator’s view of nature, not just a pale imitation of a beautiful, living thing. Paper flowers

can be three-dimensional paintings or sculptures. Some are whimsical, while others try hard to imitate nature and others are crazy and creative – just like a painting or a sculpture.

paper flower.jpg

Paper Flower Festival

On a scorching hot day, I went to Campo Maior in Portugal to visit their flower festival. Feeling disinterested in paper flowers, I dragged my feet through the unbearable Alentejo heat. I arrived early and parked my car as close as possible to the festival. The city was empty. When I walked onto the main street of the festival, my mood changed completely. There were paper flowers all over and above me.

paper flower festival.jpg

Shaded by the paper flowers above me, I took in the life-size creations and day-life-themed tableaux hung on stalls. These vibrant creations turned me into a fan of this art form.

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin


Mary Delany Paper Flowers at the British Museum

Mary Delany at the British Museum

More on Paper Flowers

Marguerite Beaty, Blogger, Photographer & Artist

Welcome to the sunny side of life for women over 50! We aim to create a space where women feel empowered, supported, and inspired to lead their best lives after 50. Join our Instagram!

Share this article with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our newsletter and get my FREE e-book

Start shifting your routine with creativity and curiosity!

ebook 7steps from 50 and Rising