22 April 2009

Dorothy May Final

DorothyMayFinal

DOROTHY BRADFORD COMES TO AMERICA

Japanese woodblock (moku hanga)
Paper size: 22" x 9.5" (55.9 x 24 cm)
Image size: 20" x 8" (50.8 x 20.3 cm)
7 shina plywood blocks
15 hand-rubbed impressions
Paper: Echizen Kozo
Edition: 30

As is true about most women of the colonial period, we know very little about Dorothy May Bradford. Born in Cambridge England in about 1597, she married 23-year-old William Bradford when she was 16 and moved with him to Leiden, Holland. They had a son John a few years later, a son who they left behind when they boarded the Mayflower for America in 1620.

The Mayflower anchored off Provincetown Harbor on November 11, and several expeditions of men set out to seek a place to build their Colony. William Bradford never wrote about Dorothy's death, but Cotton Mather noted that while William was away on one of these explorations, on 7 December 1620, Dorothy accidentally fell off the Mayflower into the freezing waters of Provincetown Harbor and drowned.

Some historians have speculated that Dorothy committed suicide. We will never know, but we do know that she had many reasons to despair -- she was separated from her infant son, winter was upon them, they were confined to the ship even though land was tantalizingly near, there was a constant fear of the unknown including the Indian presence, and the passengers were beginning to get sick and die. Perhaps all of this became too frightening to bear.

This print is dedicated to the memory of Dorothy May Bradford, 1597-1620.

12 comments:

Magic Cochin said...

I've loved following this prints coming together, Annie. I like the strong graphic image and the narrative.

Well done - especially for cutting the lettering!

Celia

Anita Thomhave Simonsen said...

I find it a very interesting story, too....and the print is great and gives a good picture of what happened without giving any reason...that makes you think and that is what good pictures do...like it very much...

d. moll, l.ac. said...

What perfect dark murkiness you made at the bottom of the page there, love it. Separated from her child? I can certainly understand her impulse. A print so well done!

Sharri said...

Another magnificent print, Annie. I love the sun in the corner showing through the sail of the ship. It makes the composition complete and adds a nice counterpoint to the fate of Dorothy.

Ellen Shipley said...

So sad. I love the focal point on Dorothy May. And the text really adds to the tale. It gives us a personal glimpse of history.

Andrew Stone said...

A very nice composition and a dark and brooding image that complements so well her fate and the lingering sadness over what must have been her despair, loss, and desperation.
I don't think she fell in.
You pulled off a powerful piece from almost thin air (and wood, water, rice paste and steel).
Congratulations.
Andrew

Georgina said...

A very moving artwork. I appreciate glimpses into past lives. A sad but beautiful print.

Linda B. said...

I have once again enjoyed your process and especially the story and thoughtfulness behind this print.
The juxtaposition of the hard, unmoving ship and the soft,fluidness of Dorothy made me think also of the life these women lived. Their soft, nurturing nature against the strict "rules of conduct" they had to live under. Did she really want to come here? Did she have any say in that decision? The freedom of floating away could have been very appealing....
Didn't know I was feeling so gloomy. I think I need some chocolate......

kiteastman said...

My sentiments echo all the comments above.Beautiful print, Annie, and your subject matter is always so intriguing. I like her wavy form so gracefully floating down, the black hair, the yellow sun.

Katka said...

Another exellent print; a tragic but fascinating story.

Annie B said...

Thank you all so much for your comments. Much appreciated.

Leslie Moore said...

This is one of my favorite AB prints so far! I love how the depth of the print echoes the depth of the water and the depth of Dorothy's despair. Bravo Annnie!