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Illustrations for the novel 'Flush' (1933, Hogarth Press) by Virginia Woolf

Illustrations for the novel 'Flush' (1933, Hogarth Press) by Virginia Woolf

'Flush' tells the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel and is told, for the most part, from the point of view of the dog. The novel is in six chapters and contains much contrast between environments: landscapes, cityscapes, social classes, cultures and countries.

I first read the novel when I had taken my own spaniel from London to Greece. I was inspired by my experiences mirroring those of someone 170 years ago: the timelessness in the relationship between an owner and their dog, as well as the love of travel.

I wanted my work to illustrate the freedom of the countryside versus the enclosure of the Victorian bedroom, dull England versus sunny Italy. Through the use of colour I wanted to show how Flush is most at one with the Italian landscape.

'Flush' is one of Woolf's lesser known works and traditionally Woolf's readership is considered more suitable for adults. However, I think an illustrated version of the novel could open up the author to a younger generation.

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