Friday, 28 November 2014

The Earthly Paradise

I recently spent the weekend in London. Whilst there I visited the William Morris exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and it has re-ignited my love for Morris and his band of merry followers. If you haven't visited (and are able to) I thoroughly recommend it. Not only are there a delightful and delectable selection of objects but it is all curated in such a loving and thoughtful manner, it left me feeling utterly inspired and with a long list of people, objects and themes to research!

I particularly loved two items; this beautiful iridescent vase by William de Morgan and this sweet wallpaper designed for a nursery by C.F.A Voysey called The House That Jack Built.

Sources: 1, 2

On my arrival back in Cornwall, the tree branches were bare and a crisp chill had set in the air; winter had arrived. These photographs were taken in my mum's garden and are very much inspired by the pictures of Morris, his family and friends in the garden at The Red House

 Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

I wanted to celebrate that beautiful cusp between Autumn and Winter and my mum's garden is the perfect place to engage in such celebration. My mum's grassy lawn is a wonderful array of moss, clover and strange yellow mushrooms which make padding across it like walking on thick pile rug, close up snaps of it form the border for these photographs.

The outfit was inspired by Morris and Burne-Jones in the picture above and a little by the outfits of the children in The Secret Garden (both book and film).

 Source: 6

  I've been after a pair of velvet breeches for many years, these ones were a recent find at a Vintage Flea Market and they are an absolute dream; the perfect fit and colour. The tweed waistcoat is another recent find. Purchased in Oxfam, there is also a matching tweed jacket, I haven't taken them off since I bought them last month. I've recently taken to a sort of dapper gent look, I've always enjoyed dappling in cross-dressing but for some reason this year I've felt particular drawn to menswear. The shoes were also from Oxfam, a lady had donated her entire collection of brogues to the shop and I bought two pairs, both hardly worn and only half a size too big (one has to suffer for dandyism!) There were another pair, a slightly lighter brown, which I wish wish I hadn't left behind, I'm just secretly hoping somebody I know has bought them for me for Christmas!

The shirt is Bavarian, I bought it in the summer from a friend's car boot sale stall. It's striped cotton and has little embroidered chickens on the front; I love the voluminous sleeves, they feel so theatrical. The cravat belonged to my mum in the 1980s and has been the source of much fighting between my brother and I. I originally owned it, then he nabbed it for a Halloween costume (a dead Lord Byron) and now I have reclaimed it, all be it with a little more fake blood attached.

This post has taken inordinate amount of time to put together due to a number of dull details that I shan't bore you with but I will say that over the last few days I have gained a greater appreciation for the transiency and effervesce of life and objects. This weekend for several reasons I will be staying as far away as possible from my computer. I'm going to take a long walk, inhale deeply and appreciate the details because as William Morris said 'the true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.'

I hope you all have happy weekends and enjoy being outside: the crunchy leaves, the damp dusky smells and the crisp, fresh air.

Linking to Visible Monday

Outfit Details

Striped and embroidered Bavarian shirt - Car boot sale
1950s tweed waistcoat - Oxfam
Ex-theatre green velvet breeches - Vintage Flea Market
Cravat - belonged to my mum
Vintage brogues - Oxfam
Vintage faux fur hat - Car boot sale
Red Christmas bow - The Range
1960s reversible tartan cape - Charity shop



  1. I LOVE these photos Lally!! You make the perfect Morris muse/dapper gent, wonderful - you inspire me! XXX

  2. I don't have the words for how happy this post has made me. I'm bookmarking it, so I can return whenever I need to be amazed by something utterly wonderful. Thank you so much, for sharing all your extraordinary art.

  3. Such a delightful, inspired and inspiring post! I love the movie by A. Holland, it's true art, and designs by William Morris are amazing! Your photographs are beautiful, truly inspired. Do you think that the vase might be encouraged by the traditional Russian folk art form called Khokhloma? Here are the links to photos and a short wiki article about it -


    Thank you for your art, I enjoy every your entry, Lally! xxx

  4. I think it's fair to say that William Morris would probably have rather liked you too. You have Jane Morris lips! Your cross dressing outfit is a success, those breeches are fabulous, as is the tweed waistcoat. I bet it feels amazingly liberating even now doesn't it? Your mum's garden looks like a lovely place to spend time. The secret garden was one of my favourite books as a kid. We read it at school and while the teacher was reading, we could draw at the same time. I loved that practice. Xxx

  5. You look amazing doll!! Love these pictures. William Morris is a favourite of mine, love his creations so much :))) This place looks marvellous. I hope you have a great week :) xx

  6. What a wonderfully inspired look - so delightful. I love the bow. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday! xo

  7. Oh Lally Mac Beth! What are we going to do with you? You are just too wonderful! This might have to be one of my favorite posts of all time. I am a big ole William Morris fan. You are so good at evoking the emotions of those dreamy Victorians. Freckleface is so right. William Morris would have loved you. Julia Margaret Cameron would have photographed you. John William Waterhouse would have painted you. And we present day romantics just adore you.

  8. This is amazing and the green velvet breeches look brilliant! xx

  9. Wonderful creativity, my dear lally. You are pure inspiration and joy to me

  10. You certainly grabbed that moment of inspiration and fully responded! You look quite the period maiden in the garden (or lady among the leaves?) Lovely reminder of Morris' genius, and who doesn't adore Burne-Jones? Wonderful photos sure point to his inspiration. A pleasure to see you, m'dear!

  11. Amazing pictures! I loved the Secret Garden. :) The look is put together so well!