Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Lady Macbeth

Macbeth is on the lips of everyone at the moment thanks to the latest cinematic incarnation of it. I saw it two weekends ago in London. It was incredibly beautiful and of course very blood thirsty. The costumes were astoundingly brilliant, and the windswept, bleak scenery had me lusting after wet and wild wintery walks. I thought that, given the title of my blog, it's a little odd that I've never explored my Scottish heritage on here. It is, after all, something I hold very dear to my heart (with a name like MacBeth it's hard not to). 

Lady Macbeth is an intriguing character. She is so often painted as a crazed woman, driven mad through her actions. The newest film paints her in a wholly new and rather more interesting light that I won't spoil for those of you who are yet to see it. 

Lady Macbeth has had many incarnations over the years. From mad eyes to long flowing locks and slightly questionable Celtic dress, these images all provided ample inspiration for my own foray into her psyche.

Leopolda Dostalova as Lady Macbeth, 1916
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Sarah Bernhardt as Lady MacBeth, 1884
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Ellen Terry's Lady Macbeth is perhaps the most famous - and perhaps the least accurate Celtic costume! I do love her amazing plaits - I wish my hair was long and thick enough to make such magnificent plaits but sadly not quite yet! Singer Sargent's painting of her is wonderful, and I was so excited to read that the costume she wears in it has recently been restored by the National Trust. You can now see it in person at Terry's house, Smallhythe in Kent.

Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, 1888
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Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, John Singer Sargent, 1889
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The first thing that leaps to mind when Scottish heritage is mentioned is usually tartan. The MacBeth's do have a tartan all of their own:

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I don't actually own any MacBeth tartan but I do have this rather fetching tartan cape that I bought in a Bath charity shop a few years ago. It's a bit like wearing a blanket so it's perfect for misty, windy walks.  I perfected a deep intense stare because Lady Macbeth has to have one of those: dark, brooding and slightly terrifying.

 Whisky drinking is generally the second thing that comes to mind. Sadly I'm not a Scotch drinker, I prefer a gin cocktail. However, I couldn't turn down the chance to road test this beautiful hip flask from SWIG. I've always wanted a hip flask to call my own; I like the idea of having a little something to sip whilst tromping across the heathery moors. This SWIG one does the job very nicely, it's incased in a lovely orange leather case and  it feels like it'll stand the test of time extremely well. What have I got in my flask you may wonder? A snifter of Coole Swan; a delicious Irish whiskey (notice the different spelling of whisky!) cream that I discovered recently when a friend from Galway gifted my mum a bottle - I throughly recommend it! 

I'm off on a few long journeys over the next few weeks so I'm quite excited to have the opportunity to road test it further. I rarely ever accept freebees as I hate to have things badly matched with the themes of my blog posts (I'm such a control freak when it comes to aesthetics!) so I accepted this with a little trepidation but I was genuinely delighted with the parcel that popped through my letterbox. I think the orange case looks so lovely against my bejewelled hand...

    I hope you are all well and looking forward to Halloween. I know it's still a week away but I'm so excited! I love planning my costume. This year I'll be donning an ensemble inspired by the three witches from Macbeth. It'll be very spooky and not at all like the witches with pointed hats and warts (think more real witches). Don't worry I'll be sure to document it! What will you be dressing up as? 

Outfit Details

Smock made to a traditional English pattern, made by my mum from smocks in Worcester & Hereford museums

 Wool tartan cape,  charity shop in Bath

Hip flask, SWIG hip flasks *this item was kindly gifted to me

1930s red velvet cape, Oxfam

Bavarian hat, charity shop in Berlin

Red Hungarian folk dancing boots, car boot sale


  1. I love these photos, between dream and madness, soothing mist of the countryside and the specter of death slightly alcoholic! Fantastic!


  2. So much to adore here: Shakespeare/Lady macbeth/great tartan/capes/hip flasks/ a handmade smock/atmospheric backdrop/great jewellery, not to mention an excellent hat… I mean, it's an extravaganza of brilliant ingredients. Such good images too.
    Interesting recap on Lady Macbeths through the history of performances. For me, I can't imagine any actor ever surpassing Kate Fleetwood's Lady M: utterly mesmerising.

  3. Oh Lally. This is so great. You are exactly who I would expect to stumble upon if I were wandering through the moors in a fog. I love the flask and your worm green nail polish and the skeletons hanging from your neck. I've had to scroll through this numerous times because it is just that good.

  4. So much to love here, Lally! Gorgeous photos and I do have soft spot for Lady M. I studied Macbeth for O Level and was mor einterested in her than any of the other characters. I remember our teacher asking a boy in the class what he thought of her and he said' Well, she's a bit of a cow really.' I'm looking forward to ssine how Marion Coutillard plays her.
    I love the Sargent portrait too.
    That's are rather stylish flask.I could do with one of those when I'm walking the dog in stupidd weather! I'm not one for the whiskey but I could fill it with rum and then I wouldn't feel my cold feet!!

  5. I'd love to encounter you stomping across the moors with your intense stare and double caping action, swigging whiskey from your hip flask. Sadly I never come across anyone remotely glamorous when I am out walking. Ah, Lady M, she's a complex character. So amazingly wonderful that you share a name. I'd love to hear more of your family history, bet it's fascinating. At college, I was in the Scottish play, as Hecate, Queen of the witches. Unfortunately there was a terrible accident after the dress rehearsal, with some really bad injuries to the cast, so it never went ahead. Cursed? Who knows. Anyway, now I want to see this film! Xxx

  6. Tartan, whisky and high camp, I love it!
    I didn't even know there was a new film version of Macbeth out. I think I live under a rock! xxx

  7. I love how you've combined both the tone and poses of these vintage photographs to inspire your online content! :)

  8. This is the best post I've read this YEAR! Macbeth really got under skin and I must do a post about it to get it out, but I will be unable to capture the spirit as much as you have in your post. But then - of course! For you be a Macbeth. It was stunning was it not? I am still bewitched. Your images are gorgeous, you are so photogenic. Love the jewels, the cape, the tartan (really rather pretty) and the powerful stare. Must go and see that dress restored. Enjoy Halloween, look forward to your pictures! You know I will be witching about on our green. x

  9. By the pricking of my thumbs, this ensemble surely stuns!!!
    You look the part most magnificently!! X