Today is Darwin Day – Happy Birthday, Charles!

To celebrate Darwin and his work, Kelly M. Houle has embarked on an ambitious journey (of sorts) to create an illuminated manuscript of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in the manner of The Book of Kells.

I found this project online somewhere with a link to her Kickstarter page.  I love the idea of preserving this particular text in the same manner other sacred texts have been celebrated in the past.  What a marvelous idea! I’m saving the date, Feb. 12, 2019, to celebrate its completion.

Please watch the video to see how gorgeous it will be.

Here is her timeline:

Jan 2009: The idea for The Illuminated Origin of Species was conceived around the time of Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

2009-2010: Preliminary research on botanical art, Illumination, and Darwin’s life and work

July 2010: Research trip to Washington D.C, including the Hall of Human Origins and the Darwin exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the U.S. Botanical Garden, and the Smithsonian Naturalist Center in Leesburg, VA

Fall 2010: Accepted into the Society of Botanical Art Distance Learning Diploma Course, began intense program of study in botanical art

Winter 2011: Continued research, completed graphite drawing of cotton plant

Spring 2011: Created sample pages, tested paints and papers, practiced lettering styles, sketched some of the plants and animals mentioned specifically by Darwin

April/May 2011: Formatted the Table of Contents and brainstormed ideas for illuminations

Summer 2011: Unveiled

Completed Sample Page, Designed Title Page, Dedication Page, and Table of Contents

Fall 2011: Raised over $16,000 on Kickstarter for the creation of the Title Page, Table of Contents, and Introduction

Winter 2011: Begin Title Page, Table of Contents

February 12, 2012: Exhibit Title Page and Table of Contents

Spring 2012: Begin Introduction

Summer 2012: Conduct Research at Smithsonian Institution

Fall 2012: Exhibit Introduction, Design Chapters 1-3

2013: Complete chapters 1-3

2014: Complete chapters 4-6

2015: Complete chapters 7-9

2016: Complete chapters 10-12

2017: Complete chapters 13-14

2018: Publish full-size limited edition

February 2019: Event to celebrate the completion of The Illuminated Origin for Darwin’s 210th birthday and the 160th anniversary of the publication of On The Origin of Species