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7_Lady_Lilith_web

Lady Lilith, 1866-68 (altered 1872-73). Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). Oil on canvas, 38 x 33 1/2 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

 

millaiscinderella

John Everett Millais (1829–1896), Cinderella (1881), oil on canvas, 126 x 89 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.

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It was with some shock that I realised this morning that it was 1 December, and that I had no idea what to use as a theme for this year’s December blogging extravaganza. To be honest, it’s not surprising that this hadn’t been a priority. I haven’t written here since 31 December last year. Life since then has been unexpected, and I have not been able to set myself to write. Realistically, I won’t have much time to write for most of December, but I don’t want to stop doing this project. It’s fun to find ideas for a post every day.  If I don’t have the time to write, and I definitely don’t have the talent to draw my posts, what to do? About 20 minutes ago (before I started writing this post), it occurred to me to call upon the Pre-Raphaelites for aid.  (Yes, I have a Pre-Raphaelite Bat Signal equivalent.) The challenge, then, is this: to post the Pre-Raphaelite works of art, without comment, which provide striking clues as to how I have spent my day.

And so it begins. (more…)

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Please accept my apologies for the silence of the last three days; I went away for a much-needed wee holiday, and it was wonderful. I did take the computer, but decided to leave it switched off in favour of long walks through unexpected snow, beautiful scenery, and good food. Because I bought myself a humble abode earlier this year, I didn’t have a long holiday, so decided to treat myself. Now suddenly it’s Hogmanay. I’ve not done much today, just a bit of cooking, of one of my favourite dishes, a red cabbage-based delight. (more…)

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Who else in the UK watched episode 1 of  The Miniaturist on BBC1 last night? I thought it was a great adaptation of Jessie Burton’s first novel. I won’t see episode 2 for a few days, so please don’t spoil it for me!

My favourite thing about the programme is its colour palette. It looks like a Dutch painting in its own right, perhaps by Vermeer.

Family prayers in “The Miniaturist”

The dollhouse at the centre of the plot is particularly beautiful, and it was the reason why I read the book in the first place. I really would love to see the original house owned by Petronella Oortman, in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

But with one eye always on a possible subject for the next blog post in the Christmas Feasts series, I remembered Nella’s love of marzipan (a sweet taste we both love). The book goes into more detail about the importance of marzipan in her memories of her home:

‘My mother used to roll it into shapes’. There was always marzipan in the pantry, the only predilection for indulgence in which Mrs Oortman echoed her husband. Mermaids, ships and necklaces of sugared jewels, that almond doughiness melting in their mouths. I no longer belong to my mother, Nella thinks. One day I will roll sugar shapes for otber little clammy hands, voices baying for treats. (p.15)

This takes me back to one of my earlier posts in this series, about marchpane sculptures, inspired by E. T. A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. I wonder if Petronella’s mother ever created such works of art, and if Petronella herself has the talent and patience to do so.  

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Doesn’t that post title sound ominous? It’s not supposed to, really, but when I tried to find another phrase, all the possibilities sounded that wee bit sinister as well. So, “aftermath” it is. But I promise that everybody lives. “Just this once, everybody lives”. (more…)

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Today has, happily, been a much more relaxed day than the last few. It has been mostly loud and chaotic, but happy.  The centrepiece of the day was our meal (thanks to the chef and to the hosts, again, if they read this post).  To keep in today’s spirit of relaxation and not sitting silently behind individual screens, this post is brief and mostly comprised of photos of today’s Christmas feast.
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From the moment I got up yesterday, I was busy, busy, busy, and there wasn’t a moment to even think about blogging until the early hours of Christmas Day, at which point: hello, my bed, o how I love you. Cook the turkey, Cinderelly; make the stuffing, Cinderelly; wrap the presents, Cinderelly; finish the Christmas trees, Cinderelly! (just kidding; it’s manic, but enjoyable). (more…)

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