Friday 16 October 2009
Becoming a collector
I have given this subject a little thought since we have been having a clear out of the main junk room prior to downsizing. BOOKS of course, are my main . . . downfall. I have a terrible weakness for them - I would forgo a meal for new-to-me book . . . Having said that, I keep them forever. I still have my childhood pony books, the Collins childrens' classics - Heidi, Children of the New Forest, Last of the Mohicans, Lorna Doone, Gulliver's Travels, Swiss Family Robinson, The Water Babies, bought from the "housewife's side" of the ironmonger's shop down the road, many under the (totally misguided at times!) understanding that these books contained references to horses . . . When I began work at 16, then the serious addiction began and I started to collect antiquarian horse books, and I still do. I sometimes think that my fascination with the past began between the pages of a book. I collect cookery books, horse books, history books, archaeology books, social history books, books about the Victorians, craft and needlework books, literary biographies, classic novels, books about the countryside and country living, and specific authors/publications of books including Batsford country books of the 1930s, H V Morton, C Henry Warren . . . I am a hopeless case!
Then there are the pictures. Horsey ones to start with of course, but I also have a fascination for pictures from between the Wars with soft muted colours, Helen Allingham-type cottages, country scenes, cottage gardens and in recent years, pre-Raphaelite prints. I just adore the pre-Raphaelite colours and intense detail. I also collect Gillian McDonald prints and as I type, I have the Isle of Skye on the wall in front of me, a wonderful turquoise sky above the softer blues of the Cuillins, and a tan, grey and turqoise bouldered foreground. Hay Tor is at my right shoulder, subtle in shades of brown and grey with a warm glow that nods to orange on the pallette. We Three Kings dominates the huddle of horsey pictures on the stairway - those racing legends Arkle, Red Rum and Desert Orchid. Book illustrations by Lionel Edwards capture scenes from everything that is dear to me and bring happy memories of a horsey life. Little black and white lithographs of castles, old houses and archaeoligical sites which often turn up at car boot sales for a pound or two fill odd corners . . . .
I collect embroidered pictures, needlework, old china, material for making into quilts or cushions or curtains or for upholstery, oh and wool . . . I don't knit big projects, but I find the odd ball or two of wool in the prettiest colours hard to resist. I wouldn't have said I had a . . . stash . . . as such until tidying up recently and my "few balls of wool" filled both sides, both shelves of a deep and capacious cupboard . . .
I think I have a slightly addictive personality!