Verse Fancies
Verse Fancies Cover


Verse Fancies
Poems by Edward Levetus, illustrations by Celia Levetus
(Chapman & Hall, 1897) 

The poetry collection Verse Fancies can only be described as a family affair. Edward L. Levetus composed the poetry in the collection, and his sister Celia Levetus did the accompanying illustrations. In the illustration accompanying the poem "Love in Ambush," the scene is a quintessentially English one, with Phyllis tending to the rose bushes. The background is filled with dense and leafy foliage. The peacock that occupies the foreground adds an exotic element to this otherwise domestic setting, and reflects the influence of the Aesthetic Movement.
The Aesthetic Movement’s motto was ‘art for art’s sake’. Beauty could be simply visual: it did not need to serve any greater moral purpose. The exquisite beauty of the peacock, with its vibrant and iridescent fan-like tail feathers, appealed to Pre-Raphaelites including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and ‘aesthetes’ such as Frederic Leighton. Levetus depicts the peacock’s feathers with minute attention to detail, and succeeds in capturing its beauty without recourse to colour.

Caption by Bethany Truscott

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Timeline of Events Associated with Verse Fancies

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  • Celia Levetus

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