Past Pleasures rediscovered


a much loved book

I came across my old copy of ‘A Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’ the other day.  I was supposed to be sorting through some things, but as usual, when it comes to having a clear out, I always come across something that makes me stop to re read it, transporting my memories – and well, – that’s the end of that exertion for the day:)

Edith Holden

I had forgotten just  how charming this book is.  Edith Blackwell Holden (the Edwardian lady) was born into a very different age from ours (1871 – 1920).  She was an art teacher and her nature notes were published in 1906.   She was also an artist in her own right, a follower of the Arts and Crafts movement.  She married  sculptor Ernest Smith in 1911 and taught in Solihull.

another time

Her exquisite drawings feature nature, flor and animals and her notes are taken from direct observation.   Holden also illustrated children’s books.  I love looking at this bygone book, which tells of a more sedate time. 

exquisite water colour

A short bibliography of Edith Holden here and here

some gorgeous images of her work from this site  and here


6 thoughts on “Past Pleasures rediscovered

  1. These are absolutely beautiful. This is such a different approach to watercolor than what we do today, but one that is still practiced. I had a student, that became quite proficient at this botanical type of painting. I find them delicate and beautiful. Thank-you for sharing about Edith Holden, Lynda.

  2. I believe that there’s a film about the artist, though I’ve never seen it. The Diary in this form came out in the 70’s, it was very popular, at one time you could get products with the illustrations on, like aprons and cups. I also like the notes she makes in the diary. We used to have to do this kind of recording in school for biology, but I can’t remember the illustrations being being anywhere near as good 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this charming artist Leslie!

  3. This has piqued my curiosity on a number of levels. I love that time period where real contributions to science and art could be made by people who were essentially amateurs. What would the world be like today if our educational system felt that instruction in drawing and watercolors was a big part of being considered educated?

    1. Our world would probably be a lot brighter and we would porbably be more sedate and laid back as people. I would arise, take my breakfast in the breakfast room which looked out onto some sunny garden, answer my letters, recieve my invitations, work out the menus with cook, The afternoon would be spent embroidering cushions, painting some still life, perhaps a quick dancing lesson, then on to supping tea out of china cups with visitors…….. I’d LOVE that life 🙂
      I would read a book, take a nap, arrange some flowers, go for a walk…actually that’s quite a busy lifestyle after all:)

  4. dear lynda,

    equally evocative post about period artists such as Edith Holden. her works are as close to nature and she-for me is like the female equivalent of Charles Darwin. i love the paintings of birds and plants as what she did here. thanks for posting this.

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