Christmas Days: in another Kensington garden

Today’s post is the last of my Christmas mini-posts and this one has nothing to do with the time of year. Consider it the equivalent of one of those nostalgic TV costume dramas. We’re back in another of those country house gardens on Campden Hill which I looked at a few weeks ago. This is the garden of Aubrey House which is of course still exists.

Aubrey House garden front c1893 GN71 - Copy

I featured this lethargic group of young women before in a post called Victorian dreamtime. The eldest stands waiting with her tennis raquet, surely not expecting the younger pair to stop reading. One of them looks far too engrossed, the other momentarily distracted. In another part of the same garden:

Aubrey House 5047 woman and boy - Copy

A woman and a boy inspect the contents of a stone bowl or planter. The same set of steps came be seen closer up below.

Aubrey House 5047 woman - Copy

The creased picture shows a woman also making a close examination of the flowers

Copy of Aubrey House 5047 woman

A close up version in greyscale shows her taking a very close interest in a particular flower. The leg of mutton sleeve of her dress places her in the 1890s. It’s possible she may be one of the two in this picture:

Aubrey House Two women in the garden MS5047 160 - Copy

Or one of them may have featured in a previous post set in wilder territory, Mary and Rachels’s Walk in the Country. Once again a little bit of gardening is going on. I think this is a view of the same path from the opposite direction facing away from the stairs.

This small set of pictures shows the tranquil but perhaps restricted life of women in affluent households at the tail end of the 19th century. Or maybe they’re just snapshots of sunny afternoons more than a hundred years ago, of no particular significance. After all if you changed the clothes you could still find women in gardens today looking just as tranquil and picturesque.

magazine-edith-wharton-05_140528156279 - Copy

Photo by one of the greats of modern photography, Annie Leibowitz, for a series inspired by the work of Edith Wharton featured in Vogue.

Next week we’re sticking with fashion and the 1890s as it’s time for another visit to the ever-popular 1897 Duchess of Devonshire’s Jubilee Costume Ball.


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