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Cat. Pencil on paper.

Polly Thayer (Starr) Animals

Much as she immersed herself in drawing and painting landscapes and flowers, Polly Thayer Starr had an endless fascination with animals of all kinds. From squirrels in the Public Garden in Boston to lobsters and sea creatures, cows at Weir River Farm, and even dead snakes and moles, her drawings of animals are finely-detailed renditions that capture their line, form, and almost spiritual essence. Around this period, Thayer was given a jeweler’s loupe, which she used to study and then replicate the intricate formation and articulation of animals’ body parts.

It’s really a matter of love. If you do the cat, you want to put in all that you feel. I feel that I could have spent a whole lifetime doing Benny, if I could just have got those lips turned back, that yawn, it’s so delicious! It has something to do with the desire, the need, to make it endure, to hold it, to realize it—and also to direct the heart, the eye, and the mind so that other people can understand it too, so that other people can understand the love.”

~ Polly Thayer (Starr), 2001 interview

Cows. Watercolor on paper.

If I could choose where I’d die, it would be in a cow barn. I think there is more virtue from a cow than any other animal that I know…”

~ Polly Thayer (Starr) to Helen Howe, 1952

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