A GEOGRAPHICAL ODDITY
The beginnings of a life-long fascination
I found my first tropical butterfly when I was twelve, in a cold and wet field in Normandy. It was a single wing, jet-black, with a row of dazzling green triangles darting down the edge. In London, the expert at the Natural History Museum told me that it was the upper wing of Trogonoptera brookiana, the Rajah Brooke's birdwing, from Borneo. Borneo! It was only years later that I discovered my cousins were spring cleaning and had thrown out great uncle Hervé's souvenirs.
In the meantime, this chance find had sparked a real fascination. I wrote to collectors and merchants, pored over entomological encyclopedias, and taught myself the delicate skill of setting specimens. Later, in Paris, I found out the best way to frame them - not in picture frames, or Riker mounts, but in deep paper-lined boxes sealed against the mites which devour the thoraxes of the specimens (which was what had done for Hervé's birdwings). My bedroom smelt of naphthalene. I moved the operation downstairs.
The thing that counts most is quality: the marriage of beautiful materials, perfect specimens, and the craftsmanship to put it all together.
When you receive one of my displays I want you to turn it in your hands and feel the care that has gone into making it, and then find it a place to live. In time it might become just another decoration on your wall, something you glance at every now and then, but I don't think so - it will suddenly catch the light, and gleam and shimmer and glow, and all at once it will be new to you again.
It's this sudden rediscovery of familiar objects that makes these displays so special to me. The world would be a duller place without it. Entomology has taken me to all sorts of interesting places and introduced me to such a strange and delightful assortment of people (and butterflies), and I hope you find it as fascinating and charming as I do.
Each butterfly has been expertly prepared in the UK to museum standards, and is mounted on conservation-grade foam in a hand-made, beautifully crafted shadowbox case backed with Italian decorative paper - these bespoke and unique displays will last a lifetime.
Featured in the Financial Times Christmas Gift Guide 2018