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Flight of the Bewick's includes
The first 100 purchased will contain an extra gift from Sandy of a signed, maquette, limited edition print of Romeo & Juliet.
In 1963, Peter and Philippa Scott and their young daughter were painting Bewick’s swans at their window in Slimbridge. As they sketched, they noticed each bird’s bill markings were slightly different. They learned to recognise each one by its face and gave them names.
Through their art, the Scott’s discovered their new friends had loyal partners for life. Paired birds will seek each other out if separated during migration and perform joyous ‘triumph ceremonies’ on being re-united. They also mourn the loss of a mate, generally taking at least a year to re-pair with a new partner and even longer to breed. This is the inspiration behind this beautiful scarf, commissioned from artist and designer Sandy Gardner.
During visits to Slimbridge Sandy studied the Scotts’ beak illustrations then sketched and photographed the swans. Within her research two Bewick's, named Romeo and Juliet, stood out. This bonded pair provided the starting point for the artwork, "Wings of the Bewick's".
Each year Romeo and Juliet, like the many other Bewick’s that visit Slimbridge, undertake one of nature’s greatest migrations, flying 3,500 km from their breeding grounds in the far north of Russia to their wintering grounds in Western Europe. But sadly not all make it and numbers have dropped by a third in recent years. There are now less than 21,000 left. Predators, loss of wetlands, illegal hunting, poisoning by lead ammunition and collisions with power lines have all played a part in this dramatic drop in numbers.
Through it’s beautiful & intricate illustrations, this artwear tells the story of Romeo & Juliet and their extraordinary migration.
Romeo (right) is courting Juliet (left) with his soft honking so evocative of Britain’s wetlands in winter.
Together they bob their heads in a blissful courtship dance.
Romeo and Juliet are seen flying through the reed beds.
Behind Romeo and Juliet are two large circles featuring the months the Bewick's arrive in the UK
(October and November) and depart (February and March).
Under the wings of Romeo and Juliet is a map showing some of the Bewick's summer and winter locations.
Illustrations of power lines and wind turbines depict the dangerous man made obstacles the swans navigate.
Prominent star constellations in the winter sky are featured within the artwork. These include The Plough, Orion and Cygnus (Latin for swan). The Plough constellation, in Latin known as Ursa Major (Greater Bear) is a representation of the swans’ natural threats. Portrayed in the background are brown bears, arctic foxes, weasels and golden eagles, all predators of the Bewick's eggs and cygnets. Orion is known in mythology as The Hunter. Bewick's are shot illegally by hunters, they are also susceptible to eating the lead ammunition sprayed from shotguns, which poisons, weakens and all too often kills them.
I am delighted and honoured to have created this Bewick's swan scarf exclusively for WWT.
Sandy Gardner 2020
Each scarf has been carefully packaged in a beautiful silver gilded box.
Within the gift box is a 'how to wear the scarf' suggestions and the story of Romeo & Juliet.