Skip to content


28 May, 2017



Brontë Nose Appreciation

24 May, 2017

The Author is partial to drawings of noses. Diligent Readers might recall Admirable Noses at Musée d’Orsay, the Noses of Toulouse, as well as Belgian, Polish and German noses.

The Author has also previously admired the nose of Branwell Brontë, as seen in this self-portrait on view at the Brontë parsonage in Haworth:

Branwell Brontë NoseMore recently, she’s had the pleasure of discovering that Charlotte Brontë also had an affinity for drawing and appreciating noses! The fourteen-year-old Charlotte sketched these noses when she was was at the Roe Head school in 1831.

Charlotte Bronte Roe School Nose drawings

Found in the Morgan Library exhibition “Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will”

Biscuits, No Longer

25 April, 2017

The Author wandered down an alley in Varese, Italy, and was delighted to find this old biscuit factory. Sadly, the Premiato Biscottificio Rossini is no longer producing delicious baked goods.
Premiato Biscottificio Rossini Varese.JPG

Dandy Dogs of Parke-Bernet

19 April, 2017

The Author is currently reading a thoroughly amusing book, The Elegant Auctioneers by  Wesley Towner.  This 1970’s gem provides an exhaustive history of American auction houses in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, as well as their often eccentric and always astonishingly wealthy patrons.

The Author particularly enjoyed this snippet about high society dogs found at the auction houses:

“[Attending auctions were] Afghan hounds and well-coiffed poodles, which [their owners] frequently addressed in French. One fortunate canine habitué of the recent past, named Zita, had a platinum collar, set with a solitary emerald, which her master had insured for $3,000. Zita was a regular at Parke-Bernet exhibitions and had her own tiny calling cards, and once a year her master–a man, incidentally, who had risen from the ranks*–sent out engraved invitations to her birthday party.”

dog meeting New Yorker

A New Yorker illustration which seems appropriate

*The Elegant Auctioneers is chock-full of snobbish asides such as this.

Kitchen Essentials

30 March, 2017

According to Charley Harper in Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cookbook:

Toaster, whisk, cast iron pan, colander, assorted spoons, tea pot, tea kettle, baking sheet, pots, dutch oven, hand mixer, electric mixer, spatula, knives, juicer, bowls, plates, funnel, grater, strainer, muffin tin, measuring spoons, and some more objects the Author can’t identify or has simply forgotten to mention.

For more charming Charley Harper illustrations, the Author recommends:

Charley Harper’s Cookbook

Charley Harper’s Pigs


17 February, 2017

The Thomas Birch & Son Auctioneers employed rather exotic type for ‘Oriental’ auction catalogs in the 1870s:




Happy 155th Birthday, Edith Wharton

24 January, 2017

In honor of Edith Wharton’s 155th birthday, the Author wishes to recount the pilgrimage she took to The Mount, Edith Warton’s estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, which is now a house museum.

At the time of the visit, the Author was searching for a topic for her upcoming dissertation. Inspired by Wharton’s short story “Roman Fever”, as well as, Henry James’ Daisy Miller and the diaries written by her ancestor, Caroline Hyde Butler Laing, when she lived in Rome from 1869-1871, the Author was toying with the idea of writing about American women in Rome.

This gave the Author a good enough excuse to contact The Mount and ask to research from their archives.  Little did she expect that the wonderful staff at The Mount would set her up at Edith Wharton’s desk in Edith Wharton’s library to look at Edith Wharton’s very own books! The Author was giddy with excitement, but she tried (mostly successfully) to appear like a most serious scholar.


The Author, who is usually resistant to asking for her photograph to be taken, couldn’t possibly let this event go by without proper documentation, so she asked a tourist passing through the library to take her picture. This fuzzy photograph doesn’t come close to capturing the Author’s delight. To the right: Edith Wharton at her desk (photograph taken from the opposite side as the Author’s photo).

The Author ended up writing her dissertation on Vanity Fair‘s Becky Sharp, but Edith Wharton-and her heroines Lily Bart and Ellen Olenska-still hold a dear place in her heart.

Readers might recall previously shared posts about Edith Wharton: a new House of Mirth cover and this brilliant bit of dialogue written by an 11 (eleven!) year old Edith Wharton:

“‘Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Brown?’ said Mrs. Tomkins. ‘If only I had known you were going to call I should have tidied up the drawing room.’”

Lucretia’s devastating critique:

‘Drawing-rooms are always tidy’”