Katherine Keenum


A blog about how paintings, photographs, and prints have helped me visualize my fiction—both Where the Light Falls and works-in-progress—with a hope that they will stimulate other writers and readers, too.

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

Manuscript Art

May 29, 2017

Tags: illustration

Website alert: This morning, after looking at recent postings at Jesse Hurlbut's terrific Manuscript Art, I went back through my own recent posts on medieval imagery to see whether I had mentioned the site. Looks like I haven't, but by all means you should visit it!

Venetian flower pots

May 19, 2017

Tags: Venice, gardens

The geraniums in this watercolor by Francis Hopkinson Smith caught my eye, as images of flowers in pots always do. It seems both obvious and also somehow wonderful that people have been growing flowers in clay pots ever since antiquity. In a place like Venice, (more…)

Woman-Suffrage Map

May 11, 2017

Tags: magazine, suffrage

Since 1908 is my magic year for ANONYMITY, imagine my pleasure in finding this Woman-Suffrage Map while exploring Cornell’s Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography. The map appears in an article in Harper’s Weekly which reports on the status of the international woman’s suffragist movement with none of the hostility or arch humor that mar too much male journalism of the period. (more…)

Look of Wonder

May 9, 2017

Tags: illustration

Website alert: Thanks to this post at The History Blog, I arrived this morning at the Cornell University Library’s digitization of P. J. Mode’s Persuasive Map Collection. The image reproduced here could be an emblem for my sense of wonder at discovering this rich resource for Picturing Worlds through maps. For some reason, I'm having trouble with links, but if you click on the image it will take you to the Cornell page or you can enter the Cornell site via the History Blog. Either way, it's worth it—explore!

Atget carts

May 7, 2017

Tags: Atget, photograph

Follow-up: After the mention of Atget in yesterday’s post, I took another look at some of his work and came across this image at the Princeton University Art Museum. No wheelbarrow or handcart, but good horse-drawn carts!

Old London

May 6, 2017

Tags: handcart, street views

Blog alert: Every morning, I check the blog Spitalfields Life. Today’s post, A Walk in Long Forgotten London is one of several devoted to Walter Thornbury’s Old & New London, an 1873 compilation of engravings of the London that was already disappearing when it was published. (more…)

Divine hairstyles

May 3, 2017

Tags: fashion or clothes

Historical novelists love to find detailed images of daily life. Dancing naked around a tree might not count as typical, but I love the way you get back, front, and side views of related hairstyles here. Although I confess I have not worked out the text, the three ladies must be the three Graces—Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne—who were attendants of the God Apollo. (For the full illustration, in which Apollo is the dominant figure, click on the image.)