Character Collages: A Great and Terrible Beauty

I hit the sack last night with what felt like an extra dosage of caffeine surging through my bloodstream. In other words, I had trouble getting to sleep. It was one of those restless insomniac nights where I was too tired to read or write, but I still felt like I had to do something creative, so I logged on to Polyvore and created a few character-based collages.

Since I’m currently reading The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray, I made the entire Gemma, Felicity, Pippa, and Ann set!

Let’s go on a walk-through, shall we?

Gemma Doyle

I used images of Rachel-Hurd Wood (from Perfume) as Gemma Doyle. Included among the set are Gemma’s two love interests: Kartik (Steven Strait) and Simon Middleton (Hugh Dancy).

The golden elephant represents Gemma’s upbringing in India while the horse-drawn carriage symbolizes Gemma’s new life in as a member of the London elite. I’ve included the crescent moon amulet given to Gemma by her mother.

Don’t ask about the shoes, the costume mask, and the emerald teardrop earrings. They symbolize nothing. They are a fashion statement. Gemma’s gotta dress up, right?

Felicity Worthington

Felicity is the self-assured, confident, and at times, more uppity of the four girls. At the same time, she’s very much drawfed by the shadow of her father, Admiral Worthington, which is why I included a picture of Her Majesty’s navel fleet in the background. I used images of Romola Garai (from Daniel Deronda) for Felicity because Romola is a confident blonde who just so happens to be in Victorian clothing while shooting an arrow.

Pippa Cross

The Pippa collage has an ethereal, Elysian fields motif going on. This is in consideration of Pippa being trapped in the realms. Alexis Bledel (images from Tuck Everlasting) is blessed with long brown mermaid hair, milky white skin, and violet blue eyes, so in my opinion, she’ll make the perfect Pippa.

The Pre-Raphaelite painting of a maiden and her knight stands for Pippa and her knight.

There peacock in the birdcage represents Pippa’s entrapment. She is the most beautiful of the four girls (the peacock is the most resplendent bird in the Avian Kingdom), and yet, in London, Pippa is carefully locked in a gilded cage, forced to marry against her will.

Ann Bradshaw

Ann is the song, the girl with the beautiful voice. Hence, the music notes and the piano. For Ann, I used the image of Ann Maxwell Martin (Bleak House). And if you look closely, there is a etching of the interiors of a Victorian theater to stand in for Ann’s dreams of becoming the star of the London stage. There is also a picture of Sarah Bernhardt (“the most famous actress in the history of the world”) lounging on a fainting couch, which is reminiscent of Ann’s run-in with the fictional actress Lilly Trimble. Notice another picture of Sarah Bernhardt superimposed onto a photo of the Victorian slums, symbolizing the contrast between Ann’s inferior class status and her dreams of becoming a renown stage actress/singer.

Whew. After saying all that, you’ve found out a couple of things about me. I kicked ass in Art History and I spent a lot of time in art museums. I’ve also read one too many Victorian novels and seen one too many Victorian Era costume dramas, which is one of the reasons why I seemed to enjoy Rebel Angels more than A Great and Terrible Beauty.

Rebel Angels—don’t you love how I oh-so-casually slipped in an impromptu review—takes place during Christmastime and transports the girls to London. London, 1895! Christmas goose, Dickenesque carolers, little street urchins who say “Please sir, may I have some more?,” aristocratic balls and colorful gowns, absinthe (“the green fairy”), opium dens, dangerous carriage rides into Whitechapel (remember Jack-the-Ripper?)—-now this is what I want to read about! This second installment of the Gemma Doyle trilogy has it all and I found myself wishing they would never go back to Spence or the realms.

Although, I should mention that this time around, the scenes involving the girls entering the realms are a lot better and more cohesive than the first book. The second book is creepier, there is more character development, and the addition of Miss McCleethy, the suspicious new arts teacher had me worried that this series was going to turn out like Harry Potter (are they going to keep switching art teachers like they swapped Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers?), but Miss McCleethy’s dubious character really brought about some of the book’s tensest moments.

Verdict: Loved it!

Also see my original casting picks for A Great and Terrible Beauty.


4 thoughts on “Character Collages: A Great and Terrible Beauty”

  1. Ah! Hugh Dancy is perfect! He’s seriously the most unappreciated actor, glad to see someone else appreciates his hotness.

  2. i have to do a project for school and i need to draw gemma’s amulet. i was wondering where you got the picture from? any help would be great. when you read this, can you respond to my email, thanks so much!

  3. Hello there !
    You have a pretty good list and I agree with you on almost all of them but Gemma, Felicity, and Ann
    I’ve always imagined someone like Kiera Knightly as Ann
    Cameron Diaz as Felicity
    and Gemma, well I don’t know who but I can’t imagine Rachel-Hurd Wood as Gemma Doyle either
    Anyways, that’s just me
    btw, does anyone have any ideas on who could make a perfect Tom Doyle ??

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