Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Mornings

How was your weekend? Did you watch the Olympics? I watched a little of the skiing and ice skating, but mostly I read. This weekend was cold in Los Angeles, though mild compared to the rest of the country. And yesterday was one of those mornings a little too chilly to take a walk. With the fireplace lit, staying home sounded awfully good. That walk could wait for later. I pulled out the newspapers, magazines, and books I have been meaning to get to and settled in for a nice day at home. The plan was to catch up with all my reading. Don't you love it when you have all day to read? Here are a few things that caught my eye...

From the February, 2014 issue of "Town and Country:" Starting on March 1 Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Delaware is hosting Costumes of Downton Abbey, an exhibition of 40 looks from the show. It includes the dress Lady Mary wore when Matthew proposed. I have never been to Winterthur and would would love to plan a visit to coincide with this exhibition!

And speaking of "Downton," there is a fashion spread in the January issue of "Vogue" featuring Laura Carmichael who plays Lady Edith. Up until this season her clothes were not very remarkable, but she is now wearing some fabulous costumes from the twenties. In real life, she loves fashion and looks beautiful in this photo shoot.

And in the same issue of "Vogue" there is an article on the three very handsome actors who play new characters this season on "Downton." It was fascinating to learn that Julian Ovenden who plays Charlie Blake (on the left), the man who seems to be falling in love with Lady Mary (see last night's episode), is an acclaimed tenor and will be performing at Carnegie Hall with Michael Feinstein on Valentine's Day!

And what about a real-life Dowager Duchess of Grantham? In the March issue of "Town and Country" there is a gorgeous 12-page spread on Deborah Mitford, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire and her granddaughter Stella Tennant. There are some stunning shots of the Dowager's home Chatsworth (a 1000-acre estate in the English countryside) as well as some great shots of her when she was simply Deborah Mitford and of her famous sisters. Have you read her memoir Wait for Me ? It is wonderful.

I love this photo of Stella at Chatsworth. I am pretty sure that is Nancy Mitford in the background.

Several magazines have articles on the new book My Life in Middlemarch. The author Rebecca Mead has written about her lifelong relationship with the novel Middlemarch by George Eliot. It is getting very good reviews and I can't wait to read it. I understand the idea of returning to favorite books over the years. "Howards End," "Mrs. Dalloway" and "Excellent Women" are books I always seem to take down from the bookshelf and revisit. I get something new from them each time. Hmm...I wonder if I can convince my book club to read "Middlemarch"?

Jude Law in "Henry V"
Photo via here

In the "New York Times" Ben Brantley has written a fabulous article about several Shakespeare plays that are on in London right now, all starring leading film actors: Jude Law in "Henry V", David Tennant in "Richard II," and Tom Hiddleston in "Coriolanus." Oh, to be in England...

Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul
Photo via here

In the same issue of the NY Times there is a fascinating article about Istanbul, the home of Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk. Pamuk gave Joshua Hammer, the writer of this article, a personal tour of his beloved city. The text and photos are excellent. Many years ago I read Snow by Pamuk and considered it an accomplishment since the book is a challenging read but very worth it. This travel piece is a keeper...

And from a visit to one of my favorite websites...

My copy of this classic

Persephone Books is issuing a new edition of The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield. The beautiful endpapers (which Persephone Books is famous for) will be based on the original Harper & Brothers New York cover of the book from 1931. Just in time for Valentine's Day, Persephone is making the book available prior to its official April release for two weeks only and is offering it at a discount. Go here to learn more and see the lovely endpapers. And go here to read more about this book.

And, finally, staying home can yield all kinds of discoveries...

A Valentine card I gave my husband years ago. Isn't that quote perfect?

I hope you stayed snug and warm this weekend.


  1. Sunday, Your weekend sounds perfect! "My Life in Middlemarch" sounds interesting. We have been told we will have a little more snow tonight. We will see...if so, I plan on spending the day with a book and some knitting. Have a wonderful week. Bonnie

  2. What a fun newsie post. I love all of the Downton related updates. 40 costumes at Winterthur !!?? That will be amazing. I wonder how they will be displayed.... You do good work cuddled up in front of the fire.

  3. I have always been besotted with Stella Tennant.
    Just my favourite model ever.

  4. What a beautiful Valentine's Day card, I love that quote. I've never read Middlemarch, which I always plan to do, but another book gets in my way. I'm going to make it a priority to read it this year - I think I own three copies.

  5. I had no idea Deborah Mitford was still alive. Thank you, great post.

  6. What a nice weekend. I too stayed in with my book (The Goldfinch), and my cooking, enduring our Oregon Freeze. Winter can be quite nice for catching up.

  7. Can you hear me clapping, like the audience for Tinkerbelle? I'm sure you can as you must know you have touched upon so much of what I love. Ii was such an endearing scene this Sunday when Thomas, Isobel, and Mary share their intense moments of love with Mary talking about being outside in a dress (the dress in your photo here) and saying she wasn't cold because she knew that Matthew was going to propose. Your card is perfect with a perfect quote and, well, everything in this post is perfect. I thank you.

  8. "Excellent Women" is a book I like to reread periodically (along with Barbara Pym's other novels.) I'm excited for The Diary of a Provincial Lady! Adding it to my book list now...

  9. I love leisure week-ends, they are the best. Laura Carmichael looks stunning, I never would of recognized her.

  10. Lovely winter post. I had heard of Stella Tennant as a model, but had no idea she was descended from the Mitford clan, so that was fascinating to discover. I already ordered a copy of The Diary of a Provincial Lady and am eagerly awaiting it to arrive.

  11. If your book club can read The Goldfinch, I think they can be persuaded to try Middlemarch! It's definitely one of my top-5 favorite novels.

    I bought Orhan Pamuk's coffee table book The Innocence of Objects last year, prior to a quick stop in Istanbul. Very interesting.

    I love that quote!

  12. Your fireplace and room looks very cozy! Loved this post! You gave me several new titles to read. Thanks!