Pink Fire Pointer April 2013

A Rose-Covered House

Where does your mind wander when you see an image? If you are like me and enjoy a certain kind of novel or mystery set in the English countryside, then you probably swoon at the sight of rose-covered houses. Is there anything more romantic? It is a sight that evokes the enchantment of a fairy tale. Remember the Madeline stories? "In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines..." And it conjures up some of my favorite books and literary characters.   

I can picture a heroine from Henry James, Isabel Archer perhaps, peering through these windows. 

 And behind this window I can imagine characters from Jane Austen's novels -- maybe the Dashwood or the Bennet sisters. Having been forced out of their manor house, they are living in reduced circumstances and residing in a cottage, though a very charming one at that.

This could be the ramshackle castle where the young heroine of I Capture the Castle lived with her eccentric family, dreaming of romance and writing her diary while "sitting in the kitchen sink."

And it is easy to envision a witty Nancy Mitford heroine walking through this door at any moment
with the bucolic landscape of the Cotswolds as her backdrop.

Jane Eyre could easily have looked up and spied these scarlet climbing roses at Thornfield Hall.

 And virtuous May Welland, Newland Archer's fiance in The Age of Innocence, might have trembled as she imagined a not quite suitable female living behind these walls.

This could have been the window through which Miss Mapp first spied her rival Lucia in the Mapp and Lucia  books by E. F. Benson. 

Photo by Kimberly Wold

And Margaret Schlegel of E.M. Forster's Howards End could have gazed up at this rose-covered house and fallen in love with it.

We all have these Proustian moments when we see an image and are taken on a little journey into the past. Rose-covered houses remind me of my trip to the Cotswolds that I took a few years ago. The sight of them also takes me back to some of my favorite books set in the English countryside. Images from travel and books can stay with us forever. We file them away in our memory bank and don't even realize they are there until something sparks a remembrance. And then we are off...

Photos via Pinterest

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Audrey in Rome

Audrey Hepburn on the terrace of the Hotel Hassler, in Rome, with the telegram announcing her New York Film Critics best-actress award for "The Nun's Story," 1960 

If you haven't already gotten a copy, you need to run out right now and pick up the May issue of Vanity Fair to see these exquisite photos of Audrey Hepburn in Rome and read the fascinating article about her years in The Eternal City. Her son Luca Dotti recalls his mother's love affair with Rome; she lived there for more than 20 years. He includes intimate photographs that have never been seen before from his new book Audrey in Rome.  He obtained many of them from the Reporters Association archives (much to his surprise, it was a rich repository of candid photos of his mother); they capture her day-to-day life on the streets of Rome and, as Luca says, they never caught her off guard. This was because she always exhibited impeccable composure that was developed from her training in classical ballet and (full disclosure) many of the photographers were her good friends.

Her always chic style, simple and classic, is evident in these photos. And yet, Dotti writes that his mother never thought she was beautiful. He also remembers an inner sadness that came from the war years when she was hungry and hiding from the Nazis in occupied Holland. But he adds that there was also "this fantastic will and enthusiasm. Because after all that sorrow everything was a discovery. When she talked about her career she always said that she was lucky and it was like winning the lottery." Luca Dotti tells a fascinating story of his mother's years living in the Italian capital and the photos capture the fashions and style of the 1950's through the 1970's with beautiful Rome as a backdrop.    

At a cafe in Piazza Navona, 1955
Love the basket purse!
On the Piazza Trinita dei Monti, 1960

With Gregory Peck in a scene from "Roman Holiday," 1953

With her first husband, Mel Ferrer, in the Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, circa 1960

In "Roman Holiday," 1953

 I cannot wait to get a copy of Audrey in Rome by Luca Dotti. It would make a perfect Mother's Day gift.

Photos via here