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Posts Tagged ‘Pre-Raphaelites’

I really should have written this yesterday, but Comic Con and family time took precedence, as they should. WordPress wished me Happy Anniversary, with a notification that my blog is now 5 years old. How did that happen?!? I started writing as part of my preparations for my first visit to Canada, with this post. I couldn’t have foreseen at that point how much Canada would come to mean to me, or how I would make some very good friends through my subsequent visits. The blog’s name, The Victorian Librarian, has become my preferred pseudonym, if not my alter ego (which still needs some fleshing out). I even have my own crest now (below), featuring two of my favourite flowers, the iris and the bluebell, in addition to my absolute favourite thing, a book.

VLlogo

The Victorian Librarian crest, designed by Lora Jones 

How should I celebrate my 5th anniversary? I think that the best thing to do would be to write more regularly here, to stop neglecting my blog. Working full time for the first time in four years, in addition to other real life commitments, has taken priority, as it must, but I don’t want to get out of the habit of writing. Will this be the year I sign up to NaNoWriMo just to keep me writing? (more…)

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I should open this blog entry with a confession; other than seeing the Enchanted Dreams: the Pre-Raphaelite Art of E. R. Hughes exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, I had no high expectations of Birmingham as a place to visit. I stand most definitely corrected. (more…)

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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on this day in 1892; today he would have been 124. He deserves to have his birthday celebrated with such fireworks as he gifted Bilbo on the occasion of his eleventy-first birthday (also the day of Frodo’s 33rd birthday): (more…)

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The Pre-Raphaelite Society explaining National #PRBDay 2015

The Pre-Raphaelite Society explaining National #PRBDay 2015

The first #PRBDay was organised by the Pre-Raphaelite Society on 8 September 2012, to celebrate 164 years since the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, in a small house on Gower Street, in London. I used to walk past this house most lunchtimes when I worked on London (6.5 years!) and it always made me terribly delighted imagining the conversations they must have had behind that front door.

I’ve been following the enormously busy Twitter thread (#PRBDay, as above), since I got up much, much later than planned today, and I really recommend dropping in on it throughout the day, or, you know, if you have the time, staying glued to it all day (which I would love to do). Serena Trowbridge, editor of the Review of the PreRaphaelite Society and creator of the Culture and Anarchy blog, will be there to chat to (@serena_t), along with Madeleine Pierce, coordinator of the Society’s London and South East Chapter (@nouveaudigital); she also writes the blog Nouveau Digital: Digital and the Pre-Raphaelites. (more…)

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I have seen headlines for a lot of articles today about Elizabeth Siddall/Siddal, also known as Lizzie, Victorian artist and poet, who died much too young; I’m planning to Spotify said articles tomorrow, and will post the link here. Every one of these pieces is testament to Elizabeth not having been forgotten in the 186 years since she was born. She is one of my favourite artists, and it’s tragic that her adult life was so marked by illness and heartbreak, by addiction and depression, affecting her strength and ability to get the renown as an artist that her work deserved. You can read more about her life here. (more…)

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My Christmas tree (2013)

My Christmas tree (2013)

Because I started putting up the Christmas decorations at the family seat today, my eyes and my imagination are full of the many-coloured fairy lights shining on gingerbread men and women, angels, simple round baubles in many jewel-like colours, stained-glass Santas, and bells. I took the photo above last year; it’s the Christmas tree in my last flat, and my favourite decoration of all that you see is the sparkling pomegranate, bought in homage to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s painting Proserpine. But as I’ve been pulling decorations, some older than me, from boxes, I’ve been thinking of one of the most striking lines that I have heard in any Christmas song.

Eyes full of tinsel and fire

It’s the excitement of Christmas, the beauty of the lights, and the lights’ transfiguration of simple baubles, tinsel, beads, fabric, and ribbon. It’s the smell of cinnamon and spices, in mulled wine and in cakes. It’s the mystery of creeping downstairs in the dark to see if Santa has been. It’s looking out of the window in the middle of the night to watch the snow falling. It’s such an evocative image of light that I had to include it in this series of blog posts. The line comes from Greg Lake’s song I believe in Father Christmas (1974), released in 1974. You can listen to the song by clicking on its title, and find out more about it here.

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Autumn Leaves (1856), Sir John Everett Millais 1829-1896 ; Oil on canvas (Manchester Galleries), via Wikimedia Commons

Autumn Leaves (1856), Sir John Everett Millais 1829-1896 ; Oil on canvas (Manchester Galleries), via Wikimedia Commons

Autumn is coming, and Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market, in those first lines heaping fruit upon fruit, is to me a poem of that season. I accept that it doesn’t make a lot of sense, as many of the fruits are summer produce, but still it says Autumn to me; in the heaping of the fruit I see the work of creating preserves for the colder months, and this is something I do as Autumn comes.

Goblin Market

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.” (more…)

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