Pencil studies for etching-aquatints revealing intimate moments between Harpies and their male visitors. A subtle narrative will emerge, recording the inevitable sexual tensions between Harpies and their male consorts.
Some male visitors to the Harpy Houses are not well received, and the Harpies are free to reject them, but they don’t always leave quietly. Visiting a Harpy House is seen by young Venetians as something exotic but also a little dangerous, and might be an activity acted upon following a dare. Swords and daggers must be removed at the door when entering a Harpy House, however despite not having hands, Harpies are well able to defend themselves from unwanted attention by virtue of their talons. It would be a foolish man indeed who choose to ignore these. Deciphering the subtle and unfamiliar codes of etiquette encountered by visitors to Harpy Houses, is often a challenge. A sharp bite from a Zibellino is a painful indication of a misread communication.
Zibellini are the sables which wrap themselves around their Harpy’s neck. Borrowed from Renaissance fashion my Zibellini are alive rather than stuffed, but I have retained their jewel encrusted harnesses. The Zibellini are very sensitive to their mistress’s emotions and will express them with greater clarity than the Harpies mask like faces can.
Harpies select their partners carefully when considering a father for their children. Even though Venetian society does not permit them to marry, many of their children’s fathers will have other families of their own. A successful pairing will result in an egg being laid, and Harpies are fierce and devoted mothers. The Harpy fathers are expected to contribute to their offspring’s upbringing by financially supporting their education, and bringing little gifts from their travels. Harpies wear no clothes, but have quite a passion for jewels and costly ornaments.