It'd been awhile since our last book club and earlier this week we
gathered around my table to discuss the life of Lilias Trotter (link to her
blog on my sidebar) after reading her biography.
Fitting 12 was a stretch and a squeeze, but we managed and enjoyed a "proper" British tea.
I was so grateful for the pretty blue and white smaller plates the Gardener
found for me at GW years ago--I must have 18 of them.
Menu: Assorted teas (and coffee), scones with lemon curd and clotted cream,
cucumber sandwiches, cheese, fruit, and dark chocolate (for our health.)
Everyone helped by bringing some of the food.
I always enjoy using my mixture of teacups.
The tiniest of bouquets was all I could scrape from our garden,
but they were a perfect example of the small flowers Lilias loved to paint.
I also illustrated her life with a water color palette and a
facsimile of her painting journals. They were small and she would
write her inspirational thoughts or daily life notes
alongside what she sketched and painted.
We even had loan of a print of one of her paintings.
Have you heard of Lilias Trotter?
She was born in the 1850s, and grew up in privilege in London's
West End during the Golden Age of Victoria.
She developed an amazing talent in art. Through a chain of
interesting events, she was tutored by the famed John Ruskin,
who said she could become one of England's greatest artists.
But she was drawn to the down and out, the women prostitutes lining
London's streets, working women, the YWCA. She helped to start
London's first affordable public restaurant for working women.
She eventually felt a pull to work abroad, sharing God's love
with others. For the next 40 years she lived in Algeria.
She made a hard choice to leave her art.
Lilias loved the desert and "found beauty in the most mundane and otherwise
unlikely places," says the director of Many Beautiful Things, a movie about Lilias' life,
released earlier this year. "She perceived spiritual insights by closely studying
ordinary people and plants, and was endlessly inspired to create
and draw attention to the beauty that she found."
I think you would enjoy her biography and the beautiful "docudrama" about
her life, with Michelle Dockery reading the part of Lilias.
There's also a wonderful children's book about her life.
I asked our library to order both the book and the film and they purchased
three copies of each. You might try the same.
You can also find out more about her, read her writings and