Dresden, London: 1898-1903. Comprised of 20 handwritten pages, 13 original sketches and watercolors, 3 musical notations and 3 loose photos of young women. A truly lovely example, bound in recently rebacked quarter cloth over sheep with gilt floral endpapers. All edges brightly gilt.
A reminder of how easily women's stories and lives can be lost to history, the present album carries no ownership signature or explanation of what drew its young women contributors together from across major cities in the U.K. and Europe. What the notebook does preserve, however, are the names of a group of women including Adelaide Smollets, Hilda May Sides, Eileen Shea, Winifred and Edith Maude Tweedie, Margaret Monnypenny, Nina Barken, Cissie Daice, Kathleen McArthur, Mabel Weir, Violet Henley, and Dorothy Dudgeon who were drawn together on these pages through their literary and artistic contributions. Beautifully copied quotations from William Shakespeare, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Adelaide Proctor mingle with tributes to Queen Victoria and reflections on time's passage and friends' separation. Exceptionally vivid works in watercolor and pastel capture landscapes of Germany and England, depict boats and seasides, and occasionally even include jokes (of note is a lovely depiction of a souvenir carved wooden bear). Musical notations and German vocabulary for singing hint at shared interests in symphony and opera. Three inserted photos depict two little girls in one, a lady with her pet in another, and the final and woman and baby.
An album calling out for further research into the young women appearing in its pages, into the possible school or family connections they share, and into the locations they depict and how those places have changed or been preserved over time. (Item #3979)