Other than what I read on the website I know nothing about the Imaginary Authors range of perfumes, fragrances which follow "a compelling storyline peppered with intriguing twists", but the idea behind them is quirky and interesting.
Each fragrance is, I suppose you'd say, a story in a bottle - one written by a purely imaginary author. Take, for instance, The Soft Lawn by one Claude LeCoq:
"Claude LeCoq published his first book, The Soft Lawn, in 1916 while still attending Princeton University. A controversial portrait of adolescent upper-class rebellion in New England, the coming-of-age story follows Hampton Perry, a charmingly snotty college tennis champ who, after years of having everything handed to him on a silver platter, finds himself handing it all back.
A little known fact about the author: Claude LeCoq wore only seersucker suits, known in that era as the wardrobe of the poor, and it was his gallant presence at high society dinners and prestigious sporting events that brought the fabric into popularity among the affluent in the ’20s."
As to the fragrance itself, it has notes of "Linden Blossom, Laurel & Ivy leaves, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Fresh Tennis Balls & Clay Court".
Space NK sell a fragrance called Clean Reserve 'Rain'. Any perfume with that word in its name is a magnet for me (yes, I know ...) so I was keen to try it, but they don't sell samples and it's only available in their physical shops in London and Glasgow. I'll be in London briefly soon and may have the chance to pop into the shop, but meanwhile I wondered if anyone knows it, and if so, what's it like? How 'rainy' is it?! Clean's own listing for it is here.
The fruit of 36 years of work by Richard Ormond - John Singer Sargent's great nephew - and others, Yale University Press' series John Singer Sargent: The Complete Paintings has reached its end with the publication of Volume IX.
If you're a Sargent fan and feel like a splurge, Yale are offering a generous 20% discount on the books (UK orders only) until the 24th. of December - you'll find the code here.
This interview with Richard Ormond casts light on what must have been a fascinating if daunting project, and if you'd like to know more about the Sargent portrait above, Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, click here for a short video from Edinburgh's National Gallery of Scotland where the painting is part of the permanent collection.
The small, daily act of making was worthwhile and fun, and I'm going to do it again this year, so I've written all the projects on those slips of paper you see above, ready for dipping into each day.
As before, I'll be ranging quite widely in my pursuits, some are current 'live' works-in-progress, some are languishing long-neglected, others are things like drawing and painting which I do far less often than I'd like, but what I envisage is just a short while spent on the day's task - nothing too onerous in what for many of us is a busy enough time.
I've talked about Bluebellgray before (here, for instance), but as they've just brought out a rather nice looking notebook - and so many of us are stationery fanatics - I'm mentioning them again. A point to note: postage is pretty steep if you're ordering just one item, but they do occasionally offer free shipping, so keep an eye out for that.
The Goldfinch has taken a pre-Christmas perch at The National Gallery of Scotland. Apparently Carel Fabritius' masterpiece doesn't leave its home in The Netherlands very often, and during its last outing - to the Frick in 2014 - 200,000 people saw it, many of them queuing in sub-zero temperatures. Here in Edinburgh it was a bit nippy this morning, but there were no queues whatsoever at the gallery and only two or three people viewing the painting at any one time while we were there, so going early was a good move.
The painting featured in Friday's edition of Front Row, and if you fast forward to the 8.17 mark there you can hear it discussed along with Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring, the novels they both inspired, and "narrative mystery".
“peering from some high window; at the gold of november sunset (and feeling: that if day has to become night this is a beautiful way).” ― e.e. cummings
I wasn't at a high window, when I took the picture, I was on the ground; it wasn't sunset, rather mid-morning; but in the spirit of those lines, you might say that if one season has to become the next, this is a beautiful way to do it.
(I cribbed the Cummings from today's RSL newsletter.)
I recently discovered the skincare brand Pai whose products are designed for sensitive skin and are free from many of the ingredients known to cause irritation.
I've been using their Fragonia and Sea Buckthorn hand cream for around 3 weeks now and like it very much - it's hydrating, 'rich' without being heavy or greasy, and leaves my hands feeling soft and protected.
If you keep up to date with Angie Lewin's news you'll know about the annual Art Workers' Guild auction. This year's takes place on Monday, 31st. October, but there's still time to bid if any of the lots - not least Angie's (nos. 59 & 109) - should catch your eye.
Betjeman's Best British Churches was too big to take to Suffolk with us, but happily it comes in app form, too, and that did the job, telling us what to look out for as we toured as many wonderful churches as we could.
Here are a few glimpses for you, but click on the names beneath the pictures to see the churches' extensive entries on the excellent Suffolk Churches website.