Now wouldn’t it just be grand: to stay in the one place, not having to lift a finger, yet find yourself being transported, or even teleported to another part of the world? Of course, we’re not actually talking about a physical displacement but rather, the opportunity for our mind and imagination to be taken across lands further than the eyes could see, and there are at least two books that can accomplish this wondrous experience.
The Kew Collection by Marianne North can be likened to a travel logbook, a hefty record bursting at the seams with rich illustrations of the world of flora. As a result of traversing the world in visiting 16 countries in 5 continents, North has been able to document the world’s infinite flora and habitats. She uses a distinctive style that has resulted in an extensive collection of creations of paintings displayed in a self-built gallery, admired since 1879 when she offered them to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The book itself can be said to be a personal gallery of sorts, with the photos arranged geographically to further emphasise the element of travelling through places in order to admire and appreciate the depth of flora on earth.
Similarly, the Maya Gods of Time also undertakes the role of recounting a journey. Well, it’s not so much about land travels, but rather an immersive experience of travelling through time in exploration of the Mayan civilisation through artworks that acted as animations of stories about the past. The combined efforts of Doctors Jennifer and Alexander John come to fruition in this book, where through the study of Mayan animations, they revive the heart of an ancient philosophy. Using art and artefacts from the Mayan civilisation, they resurrect the Mayan concept of time, represented by the number “three” and being perceived as being both linear and circular. Ultimately, it’s a book of relationship with time from the past to present and even to the future. The book itself is composed of a mixture of informative texts and original photographs and illustrations that effortlessly brings the story to life.
Combined, these two books allow the readers to live vicariously through time and space. So if you’ve ever wanted to travel the world with the flick of a page, a simple image, then maybe it’s time to add the Kew Collection and the Maya Gods of Time to your collection!