The title of this etching comes from the last paragraph of Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” where the great man uses the sophisticated eco system of a hedgerow covered in plants, animals and insects as a visualising metaphor for the complexities of our biodiversity and a picture of a form of ecstatic environmental wonderment. I was also thinking about Coleridge’s ideas of the corporeal which I have always, felt like so many artists, without being able to semantically identify was key to my own interaction with and existence in the natural world. It’s as if Coleridge was able to imagine through his and Wordsworth’s poetry, a Darwinian understanding of the sophistication of the universe.
” It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.” - Charles Darwin November 1859
I see the figure in this etching as my teenage self exploring the woods around me in Hampshire while imagining being an explorer in the Amazon. - TH