Up in the air so blue?
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer born in Edinburgh. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes and A Child’s Garden of Verses (from which this poem is taken). A literary celebrity during his lifetime and one of the most translated authors in the world, he has been greatly admired by many authors, including Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Vladimir Nabokov, J M Barrie and G K Chesterton. frequent illnesses often kept him away from his first school, and he was taught for long stretches by private tutors. A sickly child he was a late reader, but dictated stories to his mother and nurse and continued to write stories throughout his childhood. Much travelled throughout his lifetime, partly seeking a climate that would suit his poor health, he eventually emigrated to American and finally to Samoa where he died and is buried. A bronze relief memorial to Stevenson can be found in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh.
A French painter and printmaker born Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes who painted in the late Rococo manner and was one of the most prolific artists of his era. He produced more than 550 paintings (as well as drawings and etchings). Initially articled to a Paris notary he showed artistic talent and inclination and trained first with Chardin and then with Boucher. Deprived by the French Revolution of his private patrons who were either guillotined or exiled, he deemed it prudent to leave Paris in 1793, returning to Grasse and although he eventually returned to Paris he was almost completely forgotten at his death in 1806.