Friday, 21 September 2012

SEASONAL ~ The Autumn Equinox

Young girl with a posy by Margaret Tarrant

So, Summer is really over. Farewell then. It's been a strange wet one which yielded few flowers and even less fruit and vegetables. It will be a sparse Winter to follow.   The few weeks of sun which we had were intense, fragile as they were. I love this portrait by Margaret Tarrant of this perfect English Rose with her flower posy. It so evokes an English Summer for me, delicate, pale and shimmering in the blue and violet hue that threatens to envelop. It's probably my imagination but I am sure that I can catch scent of the wild primroses and violets that she is holding. It was rare for Margaret to do portraits as her usual sphere was Faerie. I wonder who the little girl was?

Arthur Rackham's illustrations are immediately recognisable and impossible to copy. No one else could ever give a tree or a twig so much definition and subtle but rich colour. He has long been our favourite whatever the subject and this one by him is called 'Joy of a Fallen Leaf'.  

Having divided my life between America and Britain I have always wondered why Autumn is called 'The Fall' in the US? Is it because the leaves are falling?

The Autumn Goddess, artist unknown

I look forward to the Autumn Equinox as a way to mark the end of summer and begin to yield to what I call the 'nesting' phenomenon. Our family have birthdays fairly distributed between Spring and Autumn which gives us additional cause to celebrate the seasons changing. It was not the case when I was a child but I discovered on a visit to America a few years ago that many people decorate their homes for the seasons. This is a nice touch and an easy way to change how your home looks without major upheaval or expense. People in Europe do not knowingly do this and decorations are not available in such variety from the shops. Instead Europe mainatins the age old tradition of ringing the seasons and Harvest by bringing in fresh flowers, seashells, leaves and twigs from the garden or wanderings through the woods or on a beach.

Living in the countryside you are closer to nature and do feel the seasons more keenly, which is what drew us to change from a city mouse into a country mouse. Country Living Magazine featured the return to a 'nature table' a few years ago which was a wonderful idea that my science teacher encouraged when I was at school and which should not have been lost with modern pristine decoration.

I love leaves and am planning to make this for our fireplace.

Idea from Martha Stewart Living, instructions on how to make and photos
from Apartment Therapy : Here:

I like the way that grand houses change soft furnishings according to the season which can give a room a totally different look. In our humble cottage we may change a few of the paintings or prints we have on display and swop round little objects of delight, cushion covers are changed from flowery faded prints to tapestry and velvet ones and much to the delight of the cats we bring out old soft wool throws which they immediately bury themselves in! But we do not have enough storage to keep many items. I dream of converting the attic to a dressing room and linen cupboard.

Cabbages and Roses summer room from the book by Christina Strutt
Living With The Country
Cabbages and Roses online

The Winter look from the amazing 'Odd',
the Donkeys do not come with the sofa coverings!
Odd online

Our cottage is in the Arts and Crafts style and suits William Morris prints and tapestries but I have a small collection of American crafts and love the locally made items you can pick up throughout America. The best ones are hand made either by local craftspeople or yourself and your family. Of course Halloween is huge in America and not so big over here, but more on that in October.

I LOVE this Fall owl soft sculpture on Etsy, by:
jjoycedesigns on Etsy

Whatever you are doing, whereever you live best wishes for a colourful Autumn. These are a few of our favourite images. We have credited where known.

Autumn Crossing, Hancock, County Maine

Autumn in Devonshire, by Sensuelle
Maple Tree, Lake District, Cumbria

The Apple Orchard, Carl Larsson
The Fairytale Wood, Molly Brett


  1. What a lovely post, I really enjoyed it.I am still getting used to the season changing, and am a bit sad summer was such a my wolly socks and jumper on again and this will now probably will have to be the way it is for at least 4 or 5 moths - deary me,Enjoy the Autumn anyhow!!

  2. Gorgeous words and images. Autumn is such a magical time of year. Arthur Rackhams illustrations have always been such a big inspiration to me and remind me of the books my grandparents would let us see when we went to visit. Bring on the colours of Autumn!

  3. Such a beautiful post! I love all the Autumn images and ideas. The paintings you have displayed are absolutely marvelous. I do so love Carl Larsson. You have described the first portrait of the sweet little girl very nicely. Love this time of year with a passion. Autumn Blessings to you and those you love.

  4. Hello,
    loVed this post, especially as the sun is shining here in the North West today!(We have had only terrible rains this week) soo I enjoyed looking at your wonderful pictures...
    I loved the picture of the 'little Girl', with her pretty posies! Just magical...
    Wishing you a Saturday full of colour.
    Maria x

  5. Love the photo of the Maple tree. We are surrounded by them where I live. What a sweet shop cat and lucky to have that title, too. Sweet blog. Deb, Ontario, Canada

  6. This is a lovely post. I feel like I've had a tour through a wonderful art gallery. The very first painting is my favorite. That little girl is beautiful. Margaret Tarrant is a new artist, to me, I plan to Google her work so that I can see more. Have a lovely day, Connie :)

  7. I did so enjoy this post! I love Margaret Tarrant's fairy pictures and read once that she used the children from her nursery school where she worked as models.I love the Autumn and am just about to change our light floaty Indian shawl 'curtain' to heavy velvet winter ones in the front room. I'm now inspired to try some more changes! Jane xx

  8. I love your way to tell us beautifully the change of seasons. In Nara, there is goddess of autumn, Princess Tatsuta, who is believed to let trees know the time when they turn red, yellow, orange and more. Soon we have the most gorgeous season of autumn foliage with the astonishing variety of hues. I cannot wait!!
    When I was a little child, doors were replaced with summer doors to allow the air move or circulate more during summer. But now I have hardly seen the summer doors because of air conditioners. I feel the tradition in our daily life is fading a little by little.
    Have a great day!

  9. Why not Facebook or subscribe by email? I would love to receive your blog. Thank you. Sonie


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