Sydney is currently enjoying a bumper cicada season. To me, these insects are a potent sound of summer and I enjoy their strident chorus building to a crescendo and then tapering off; the volume increasing with the heat. In a year like this everyone talks about them (not all in happy tones) and many children enjoy collecting both the insects and their discarded shells. The cicadas themselves enjoy friendly common names such as Green Grocer, Yellow Mundy and Black Prince. In spite of their fame, cicadas have not been a very common decorative motif in Australia. But there is always something in the Powerhouse Museum Collection!
This beautiful vase was hand painted and gilded in 1913 by Delia Cadden. Delia was a talented china-painter. As described by Curator, Eva Czernis-Ryl “She often included gum leaves, wattle and flannel flowers in her designs but her favourite motifs for porcelain decoration were Australian Green Grocer Cicadas (Cyclochila australasiae). Painted in various stages of flight or just crawling, their wings and segmented bodies glittering with heavy gilding, they seem to move slowly in a rhythmical dance around the bulbous shoulders of her selected squat vase. This vase features an additional frieze of stylised cicada heads around the neck. The vase itself is a porcelain blank made by L.Bernardaud & Co., Limoges, France, in about 1912″.
Post by Lynne McNairn, Web and Social Technologies