Friday, August 12, 2016

beautiful things

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.
Whimsical beauty.
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 
see her art on the blog and see the film trailer here.


  1. Dotsie, I am intrigued by the story of Lilias Trotter. I must read and learn more about her life. Your book club meeting looks beautiful with your lovely, inviting table all set for tea. ♥

  2. I have placed a request with my library for the DVD and will request the book from through our Interlibrary loan system. Thank you for this reminder, Dotsie, about Lilias Trotter. Your tea luncheon looks like a wonderful time together with your friends discussing a lovely subject. It would have been fun to be there.

  3. Oh I am sure that I would love her story. Thank you for telling us about it for I had never heard of Lilias until now.

  4. I have not heard of her either but it surely sounds as though she was a remarkable woman. I too, would find her story quite interesting. I wonder if PBS has ever done a documentary about her. What a great time you ladies must have had...lovely tea party!

  5. Oh, I think so much of her - and I hadn't realized there's a documentary about her life.....and Michelle Dockerty is AWESOME - so I need to check our library! Thank you for the wonderful recommendation! And your tea time table is lovely. Well done, Dot. ♥

  6. The quote you copied out in front of her print is beautiful....something I needed to hear. Lovely table settings as usual,dear one.

  7. The quote you copied out in front of her print is beautiful....something I needed to hear. Lovely table settings as usual,dear one.

  8. This is all new to me too and I will next go onto our library website to see if there is anything I can order. Thank you!
    What a lovely afternoon tea you must have had.

  9. I appreciate Lilias Trotter's painting and writings. She was an amazing woman of God! Your tea looked like so much fun!

  10. I am sure that your beautiful table was the setting for a lovely time of discussion and fellowship. I learned of Lilias Trotter through Elisabeth Elliot's book A Path Through Suffering. I'd love to read her biography...taking note of the title... The docudrama also sounds wonderful. Thanks for letting us know about these!

    1. While looking on Amazon for the biography and the docudrama, I discovered a picture book about Lilias: Lily: The Girl Who Could See. I am always drawn to a good picture book, so I added that to my cart too! I find that picture books are great for ALL ages as an introduction to a topic...and I also like to share such things with my grands.

  11. Such an interesting life. I'm headed to see if my library carries the book and movie. Your table looks so inviting for your book club!

  12. Amazon has it to rent for $4.99, our library system does not have it! We may have to rent it.

    Your table is lovely and I am sure the conversation was wonderful, too. I'll have to check out the book, also.

  13. A book club, never been a member of one but now that I am recently retired I might look into that. Such a pretty setting around the table. Nice job.

  14. I haven't heard of this writer but I really so like that you've honored her with such a nice party. Your table is beautiful. I'm a mismatched person from my dishes to glassware to silver plate! Your table is lovely. When people are having a good time they rarely look at the details!


  15. What a lovely table setting. Like Jane, I have never heard of the author, but I will check her out.

  16. I had not heard of this lady before but will certainly check out the link to find out more. I have an eclectic mix of teacups and blue and white plates, too, which I try and use daily. Your afternoon book club tea looked so inviting, the tiered cake stand caught my eye also, is it English?

  17. Hello, your table setting for the tea is just beautiful. I love the print of Whimsical beauty! I will have to look for Trotter's books. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  18. I would love to read the children's book about her life. And your table and art journal are lovely! Happy Monday! Hugs, Diane

  19. Now I want to read about Lilias Trotter. Wonderful post. Your Gardener is a keeper -- finding all those beautiful plates for you at GW...he gets a big Well Done! Your "tea-scape" is lovely ... great teacups! And the food ... YUM ... chocolate for health -- always! Happy Monday!

  20. Thank you for the information on Lilias Trotter. I'll be checking that out. Love your table setting.

  21. I am intrigued by this woman and will look for the book and movie to enjoy. The book club menu of course was right up my alley :-) and isn't chocolate a healthy food group anyway? lol

  22. Dotsie, Love the post. Book club with a book and author I will have search out. Thanks for sharing. Sylvia D.

  23. Quite a few years ago, Victoria magazine did an article on Lilias and her artwork, mentioning that she gave up her possible career as an artist in order to serve God on the mission field.I'd love to read a book about her. Thanks for the info. Your get togethers are always lovely affairs.

  24. Thank you for a lovely tea and for introducing me to an amazing woman.

  25. What an interesting woman! I have written the movie and book title in my 'must read' list. Also I know Michelle Dockery was on Downton Abbey, I remember the name; but now I must go and look up the cast to see which part she played! Whoever it was, I am sure she is great reading this part too, since there were no bad actors on that series ;>)! Your tea table is stunning!


I enjoy the conversations that come with comments!

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