literary britain

   Dairy Cottage in the Batsford Arboretum and botanical garden, Gloucestershire, England. The Estate was inherited by Baron Algernon Mitford, an extensive Asian traveller heavily influenced by Japanese and Chinese gardens. The arboretum contains the national collection of Japanese Flowering Cherry Trees.  

  Mitford was succeeded by his son David, father of the infamous Mitford sisters (six daughters satirised by The London Times as “Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover, Nancy the Novelist, Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur”).  Poor Pamela, she does come off very dull. I hope she hurried down to this fellow’s office and whacked him with her handbag whilst shrieking, “NOT SO UNOBTRUSIVE NOW, AM I?”

   Anyway, Nancy the Novelist did indeed become a well known author; with works including Love In a Cold Climate, The Pursuit of Love, Madame de Pompadour, and The Sun King; and Deborah, the only surviving sister, is still Duchess of Devonshire; living in Edensor, Derbyshire. (Edensor is my icon) **cottage image from anguskirk on flickr**

“The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?” —Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room (1922)

  This is the view looking up West Street from Lamb House in the Town-Of-All-That-Is-Perfect-and-Wizardy-and-Medievally Magical; aka Rye, East Sussex, southern England. Look at the cobblestone streets and the crooked chimney!! At the top of Mermaid Street take a right and you’ll be here.

   Eighteenth century Lamb House has strong literary connotations. Henry James, (1843-1916) an American-born writer and key figure of nineteenth century literary realism lived here. James, who spent the last 53 years of his life in England, is best known for books Daisy Miller, The Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians, The Ambassadors, and the famed short story The Turn of the Screw. 

   Lamb House was later home to authors E.F. Benson (who immortalized the town of Rye in his Mapp and Lucia series, and also represented England in figure skating. Brilliant.) and Rumer Godden (Black Narcissus, The Lady and The Unicorn, The Doll’s House, The Diddekoi, The Rocking Horse Secret, A Kindle of Kittens, The Dragon of Org, Great-grandfather’s House and many others)

    (UGAgardener flickr)