This morning I was lucky to attend a preview behind the scenes talk and tour at the Queensland Museum, to promote Melissa Ashley’s debut novel, The Birdman’s Wife, which I have already reviewed.
The Queensland Museum yielded Ashley a treasure trove of sources for her research, from archival materials, to connections with Elizabeth Gould’s descendants, and I gained a glimpse of some of these.
The taxidermy displays offered a fascinating insight into the meticulous research conducted by Ashley to inform the authenticity and depth of detail. To gain a more tactile and experiential connection to her book’s subject, Ashley volunteered every Wednesday in the vertebrate laboratory. With her hands and senses she learned the processes that John Gould would have followed to prepare specimens for his wife to draw.