Jun 13, 2018

the Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady

by Edith Holden

I am not familiar with this author/illustrator, but I do know she has written a Country Diary, which this compilation predates by a year. I expecting something like Wildlings, but this book is much simpler and I admit to being slightly disappointed. While it does have daily notes, where Holden jotted down the wildflowers and bird species she saw on walks through fields and hedgerows, it's really just like a list. Very few and far between are any actual incidents or descriptions of wildlife behavior. Most of the text is a collection of poems and quotes about the seasons, or flowers, or the beauties of nature. Wordsworth, Longellow, Shakespeare, Tennyson . . . . but I don't read a lot of poetry, especially this type, and personally I did not care for much of it. There are a few interesting tidbits about where the names of the months originated, or special holidays and folklore particular to each season. It was slightly reminiscent of the Treasury of Flower Fairies.

What I really like about this book is the artwork. The detailed paintings and drawings of many different types of wildflowers (quite a few I recognize, considered weeds in my yard!) and birds are just lovely. Delicate, lively and carefully done. It's apparent from her notes that Holden carried flowers and foliage home to study and paint from; I wonder if she just had a quick eye or some other means to attain the accuracy of her bird sketches. A few mammals: rabbits, ponies, one fox, but mostly it's birds and some butterflies. They really are very nice.

The notes and drawings are from 1905; the book was first published in 1989.

Rating: 3/5             192 pages, 1905

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