Looking for bedtime-for-grownups reading, I pulled Elizabeth Goudge's novel, A City of Bells, from my shelf and noticed for the first time that the jacket illustration is signed by C. Walter Hodges—the illustrator of The Little White Horse. I had thought of Hodges primarily as a major researcher into Elizabethan theater; but it turns out, he had a highly productive career as an illustrator of children's books and jacket designer. This isn't really leading me anywhere except to ask, isn't it tantalizing to see various previously unrelated interests join up?
Picturing a World
Blog post alert: Food history and children's fiction are two of my hobbies, so I was delighted to stumble across an old post, Biscuits (Cookies) w/ Sugar Flowers | The Little White Horse, at Fiction-Food.com. As it happened, when I found this site, I had just reread A Wrinkle in Time and so was amused to see that the blogger's archive included a post on Sandwiches & Hot Chocolate. And her recipe for a Sugar-Topped Cake looks just right for Mr. Tumnus' tea in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. A good diversion when I was supposed to be doing something else.
My recent interest in book jackets led me to an excellent group biography, Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship. Eric Ravilious lived and worked among artists and designers many of whom had studied or taught at the Royal College of Art in the 1920's. Contemporaries of the Bloomsbury set, they were just as bohemian and just as dedicated to their work; but they were not so, well, self-important. One artist who didn't make it into the biography, or at least under the name Claudia Guercio, designed the cover and this illustration for Ariel Poem #20, A Snowdrop by Walter de la Mare.
Kathleen Jennings' recent post on Mapping movements in stories sent me surfing the 'net. Eventually, I landed on Misty Beee's map, winner of a 2021 Atlas Award at the Cartographer's Guild. Oh, to be able to create something like it or like Jennings' whimsical communicative sketches! Actually, I do sometimes make rough maps and house plans to help me with my stories, and I highly recommend non-verbal exercises as a way to broaden a writer's experience of her worlds. Here's one adaped from Jennings' post:
Blog post alert: Don't these beads look like hard candies? They are from a 6th C grave of a little girl in Basel, and I'm sure the archeological and historical implications are worth pursuing. For now, though, I'm just getting a kick out of the visual treat—and, of course, the idea that they could be put to some use in a story!