Katherine Keenum


A blog about the paintings, photographs, and prints that help me visualize my fiction—both Where the Light Falls and works-in-progress. My main current project is a novel tentatively entitled ANONYMITY. Its heroine works in publishing, belongs to a clandestine suffragist group, and has a married lover. Read on!

Click on images to see enlargements. In the text, click on words in color to activate links.

Selected Works

Fiction
An American woman art student meets a Civil War veteran in Belle Époque Paris.

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Picturing a World

New Year's Eve

December 31, 2015

As we sail toward a new year, I have just hit this gorgeous illumination in a medieval manuscript, Egerton 10 f 33, at the British Library. Won’t someone please tell me a story to go with it?!? Best wishes to all for an imaginative new year.

Little Woman in Blue

December 29, 2015

Tags: Nieriker, women artists

Blog tip: I have just read this post on Jeannine Atkins’ new novel Little Woman in Blue: The Story of May Alcott Nieriker with great interest. And, of course, I love it that Where the Light Falls is included in the recommended reading list at the end!

Christmas morning 1908

December 25, 2015

Tags: Christmas, Larsson

As far as I’m concerned, an album of Carl Larsson images is the perfect way to glimpse a world we hope was true. Nostalgia? Sure. Merry Christmas, everybody!

For more strictly Christmas images by Larsson, click here.

Helen Stratton

December 22, 2015

Tags: Helen Stratton, illustration, women artists

Born in 1867, artist Helen Stratton would be a near contemporary of my new heroine Mattie, who is employed in the children’s book publishing industry and would therefore know her illustrations. With no more relevance than that to my own work, I’m posting (more…)

Sherlock Holmes for Christmas

December 21, 2015

Tags: Christmas, illustration

I’ve just learned what to read tonight: “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans” by A. Conan Doyle. It ran in this December 12, 1908, edition of Colliers. And what fun—Maxfield Parrish! Surely, Mattie is a fan of Sherlock Holmes and probably of Parrish, too.

Emily Dickinson's Black Cake

December 20, 2015

Blog tip: Too late for this Christmas, but for anyone interested in recreating Emily Dickinson's Black Cake next year, click here. Be warned, it calls for 2 lbs. butter, 5 lbs. raisins, and 19 eggs!

X in Xmas

December 19, 2015

Tags: Christmas, illustration

Mattie Palmer, my new heroine, is Jeanette’s younger sister. Since Where the Light Falls is set in 1878–1880 and ANONYMITY in 1908, this magazine cover comes halfway between the chronologically. It’s sort of like a Rorschach test: Would Jeanette’s art be leading her this direction? Would Mattie like it? The fact (more…)

Suffragette—the Movie

December 18, 2015

Tags: Suffragette movie, suffrage, work-in-progress

This week, I saw the movie Suffragette, about the working women who responded to Emmeline Pankhurst’s call for the suffragist cause in Great Britain.

First off, let me tell you that, yup, it passes the Bechdel Test on every criterion! (more…)

Torn party dress

December 1, 2015

Tags: fashion or clothes, social customs, Renicks, Tonks

As we enter the season of parties, parties, parties, we can either rejoice or regret that the era of the lady’s maid in the cloak closet is long past. In 1922, Emily Post could still write, “Fifteen minutes before the dinner hour, Mrs. Worldly is already standing in her drawing-room.… She knows without (more…)