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

Hallowe’en 2016

October 31, 2016

Tags: illustration, social customs

Today’s image comes via It’s About Time, but could equally have come from Liberty Puzzles. As the 2016 election spirals down, I regret not having ordered one for distraction!

For a wealth of holiday postcards from the New York Public Library, click here.

And I’ve just discovered a book that bears looking into, American Holiday Postcards, 1905–1915. Addendum: For a helpful review, click here.

Tablecloth and apron

February 4, 2016

Tags: social customs

Blog tip:As a follow-up to my post yesterday, look what appeared this morning at It’s About Time—not only a tablecloth with folds, but an apron as well!

Lamplight and table linen

February 3, 2016

Tags: social customs

Three things about this picture of a dinner party by Jules Alexandre Grun interest me (besides the artist’s being a younger contemporary of Jeanette). The first is the illumination from the lamps on the table. Gas? oil? candles? I’m always trying to imagine how (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…)

At the Florist

April 29, 2013

Tags: Jeanette, Edward, flower seller, shopping, social customs, street views

Before I saw Béraud’s Promenade, featured in the last post, I had seen Hassam’s Florist, which illustrates the custom of being accompanied by a uniformed maid when out and about in Paris (very handy for having someone to carry purchases as well as to announce respectability). Countess Marie Bashkirtseff and other privileged students at the Académie Julian were escorted to class by a maid. For Jeanette and other foreign students, however, such close chaperonage was unnecessary. The streets of Paris were safe and American girls were notable to Europeans for their independence. (more…)