Sunday, 29 November 2009

Seeing red

No, I am not angry at all - and it seems such a sad state of affairs when seeing red is being angry, when to me red is the colour of warmth and happiness. Red is one of my favourite colours for all sorts of reasons: it is so bright and cheery - and who could fail to smile at the thought of red polka dots or red gingham?


The different colours of red have such evocative names as well: vermilion, crimson, scarlet, carmine (OK, I know that involves cruelty to insects, but I don't buy coloured food or unethical cosmetics, so I am just enjoying carmine metaphorically). Flame red and auburn - and someone called Scarlett O'Hara just has to be exciting to read about.



Red is the colour of roses, and poppies, and glowing coal fires; of cherries, and strawberries, and apples; it is the colour of Christmas and rosettes saying 'First Prize'. I have never won a first prize rosette, but I had my thesis bound in scarlet leather: I am debating whether to make it a red gingham slipcover. And in my teens I just adored the Scarlet Pimpernel, although I fear if I revisited Sir Percy Blakeney I might find him disappointing, so I keep him as a figure of my dreams.

So perhaps I am a bit of a scarlet woman, but not metaphorically, of course, surrounded as I am by children, dogs and mud, all of which limit all sorts of possibilities. And why should I array myself in purple and scarlet when I have the most adorable Head Chef held captive in my ivory tower?


No, on the sartorial front, teal blue wellingtons seems to be the way to go at the moment, rather than a Venetian red toque, which surely says something very significant. Something to do with ducks, perhaps?


And it seems quite sad that women of questionable morals are painted scarlet - perhaps if they were crimson roses with a touch of pale blue, then the Cath Kidston effect would wrap their unsettling behaviour in a granny blanket of comforting morality. In her novel Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell tried to paint her fallen woman of a heroine white not scarlet: Ruth even wears modest and snowy attire during her brief week of sin, which she then rips up and stitches into baby clothes for her illegitimate child. But in spite of leading a saintly life of selflessness  and becoming quite the angel, all the whiteness in the world cannot atone for her scarlet behaviour, and she must eventually pay for her sins (I won't spoil a good book for you, by telling you any more about what happens).


And the scheming Mademoiselle Reuter in Charlotte Bronte's The Professor is a woman quite vermilion: she nets a green silk purse as she sits in a purple merino gown with a garnet on her finger and tosses her curls, the colours seem livid in their vividness, and she a siren singing an ensnaring song. Heroines such as the eponymous Jane Eyre, or Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch are distinguished by the plainness of their dress: not crimson silk for them but serious colours like grey or black, nun-like habits not beribboned gowns. How sad for me, and for them.



So, such does my mind run along lines of scarlet and rose, you can imagine my joy when the postman (he has a red van, I am sure that is deeply relevant) delivered my Lululiz Rainbow Swap parcel from Bekimarie. I, unsurprisingly, had chosen red, and Beki sent me such a box of delights that I spent the rest of the day in crimson dreams.

 

Beki, appropriately enough, wrapped all my goodies in purple tissue: in times past, imperial purple was more red than we would imagine, as the dye was produced from Tyrian molluscs, giving the Tyrian purple or red dye produced more of a crimson colour. And in the middle ages the word purple was used to describe varying shades of red. I think really bright purple was not possible until the invention of aniline dyes in the nineteenth century.


You can see from the pictures what a wonderful collection of redness I received from Beki: tea towels, a beautiful Greengate tin, a polka dot make up bag, red earrings, a lovely little poppy to stitch, a red gingham raggy heart to hang up in my kitchen, a red tin heart just right to hang on the Christmas tree, or festive twig, more like, and ribbons galore to play with.


Alice at The Sight of Morning has been writing about her Obsessive Bench Disorder: I think I have Compulsive Haberdashery Obsession, and am drawn to buttons and bows in a strange and subconscious way. Much as Dorothea was one of my early heroines, the allure of Rosamund's rustling silks and ribbons still entices me, and as a child I yearned for ringlets and plaits with bows.


And not only did Beki send a parcel of rubescent joy for me, she also sent a little one for Princess Bunchy, too. The Princess favours blue, and Beki sent one of her lovely bookmarks, available to you, too, via Beki's blogshop.


She also sent some chocolates, all wrapped in blue and white foil, but, alas, they are no more: the little Princess gobbled them up in indecent haste before I could allocate them more abstemiously amongst the pockets of the advent calendar (which I have just completed, just in the nick of time). And the lovely, fluffy blue socks with little polar bears on the sides have been worn non-stop, in bed and out, since the parcel was opened, and are now evidence of the grubby state of my floors. So I couldn't possibly photograph them, but had to consign them to the wash. I promise you they are very cosy, and just the thing to make a princess squeal with joy.



So thank you, Beki, so much for your generosity and inspiration in giving me my fix of rosiness: I am now going away to play with my ribbons.

35 comments:

Sal said...

Wow, that's such a fab post!
I love red too..gingham,dots etc etc...and, of course, at this time of year I am in my element!
Long live red!
;-)

Michela said...

There's always a lot to learn from you! Lovely oarcel!

jennyflower said...

Pure Ruby joy! Such treasure and also for the princess, I am a big admirer of the bed sock, how sensible. I used also to have a bed jacket- happy days!!

Lucille said...

What a great piece. I was just reading Jan Struther's musings about comparing shades of red in The Khelim Rug also Emily Dickinson's, 'An altered look about the hills; A Tyrian light the village fills;' without knowing until now, what Tyrian meant.' Lovely thanks.

whoatemycrayons said...

I have ribbon envy!

Sue said...

What a vibrant post to cheer up a damp and grey Sunday,thank you.


Sue

Lalabibaby said...

What a riot of redness and well done Bekimarie on a lovely swap x

Tabiboo said...

Such 'red' beauty and a wonderful package.

I adore red so for me this was a pure delight.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

Nina xxxx

andamento said...

Beautiful gifts, my favourites are the tin and the bookmark, lucky girls!

I've not yet read any Elizabeth Gaskell, is "Ruth" a good one to start with or have you a particular favourite?

Floss said...

Loving this post, but feeling far too vague to give it a proper response! Thus, just to say thanks for joining in the Advent Pause.

JuliaB said...

And red cars go much faster than other colour cars too! Perhaps that's the connection with scarlett women, they are very 'racy'. x

Sarah said...

great post - red happens to be one of my favourite colours. Love red gingham and polka dots.
It certainly cheers up a gloomy weather weekend!
x

~ Junkyard Jennifer said...

I love red, too. I always think everything I see from GreenGate is so pretty but we don't have it in the states. You're so lucky! The polka dot ribbon and pom poms look especially fun!.

~ Jennifer

Anna said...

Love your red post! And I know this children, dogs and mud thing too well!

Anna x

Serenata said...

Strange you should mention the Scarlet Pimpernel - we watched it last night! I'd never seen it before.

Loved reading your red post, so cheerful and colourful. I've been rather tired and ratty today so it is a nice pick me up.

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Red and rosy literary bliss, my favourite posting I have read in a while. Some books for me to read, especially "Ruth" I like Elizabeth Gaskell, need to get onto Amazon right away, gorgeous inspiration. Lovely things from Beki too, all divine, all perfect,

Love Sarah x

Polka Dot Daze said...

Lots of eye candy here! And look at all the polka dots too!

VintageVicki said...

Wow - what gorgeous things and all in my current favourite colour too :)

Jennifer said...

I just discovered your blog and I absolutely love it. What a beautiful post, and such fun things in your swap parcel. I love all the red, and that tin is gorgeous. Can't wait to come back for more.

periwinkle said...

i love red too, our main sitting room wall is red and i love it, especially at this time of year... gorgeous ribbons

Lyn said...

Gosh I never knew all that about RED!
Mick Hucknell's nick name is Red!
there you go!
Love
Lyn
xxx

Kate said...

Goodness me, such wonderful information. Red is my all time favourite colour so this post has really got me excited! Thank you x

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely post, my favourite colour is green but i love read too, specially at this time of year when everything can be so dull with all the leaves fallen....

sarah { abeachcottage } said...

great post, I once painted my bedroom in england all red, kinda dark red, it was gorgeous for the winter

love all the ribbons

I'm staying for the a mooch around here, just saw your bag from a skirt button - I've seen those on the crafty blogs in denim etc but noth thought of doing it like that...

Sarah

Menopausal musing said...

I am a lover of red too.... Was lusting after a red doormat with white polkadots today...... Don't you just love the names of colours? I have a tube of artist's paint called "Bengal Rose" (a gorgeous bright pink) and I always think it sounds like the name for a "lady of the night"........ I can almost imagine furtive whispers behind hands saying "Knock three times and ask for Bengal Rose........" :O)

Itch2stitch.com said...

Thank you for this really interesting post, I so enjoyed reading it! I just adore red, and I agree with you that red is associated with anger and aggression. To me though, it is warm and welcoming, cheerful and bright, childlike and innocent too! Lovely parcel! Suzie. xxx

Isobel said...

What an eye candy post!
Love all your red sweetness!
xx

Cottage Garden said...

Red is so evocative of Christmas too isn't it? Lots of red gorgeousness here, thanks for all the fab links Pomona and for reminding me of Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell - a great book and somewhat overlooked I think.

Have a great day! Jeanne x

Emily Pickle said...

Beautiful pics! Loving all the red...

Emily Pickle said...

Beautiful pics! Loving all the red...

Lola Nova said...

What a wonderful post! You stirred the memory of all those books for me. All that red wonder you have shown in the photos, so enticing!
I love reading your blog, it always gets me thinking and smiling.

Florence and Mary said...

I really enjoyed this "red" post. Red is one of my fave colours too... like you polka dots or red gingham just make me smile!

Victoria xx

Pixiedust said...

what a fab post! xxx

silverpebble said...

What a fabulous post Pomona - and full of such beautiful red bloggy treasures too! I love all the references to red and its meanings you've told us about. I hadn't thought of red meaning First Prize and yet also a colour to be shunned. A bit of a paradox.

bekimarie said...

WOW, such a great post and I love the piccies, you made everything look wonderful.
So pleases you're happy with your parcel, it was a real pleasure to put it together for you, just very sorry I took so long.
Love and hugs
Beki xxx

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails