A gorgeous book to give: The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

Title: The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
Author: Edith Holden
Publisher: Rizzoli
Publication date: 2018
Length: 192 pages
Genre: Nature
Source: Purchased

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A charming addition to Rizzoli’s carefully curated program of bringing classic books back into print.

This beautifully packaged facsimile of Edith Holden’s original diary is filled with a naturalist’s masterful paintings and delightful observations chronicling the English countryside throughout 1906. As one of the few true records of the time in print, the handwritten thoughts and paintings contained in The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady transport readers to a more refined, romantic, and simpler time.

Capitalizing on the current Downton Abbey-inspired appetite for Edwardian-era ephemera, fashions, and society, this reproduction brings readers back to a time in which propriety, civility, and an appreciation for the natural world reigned. This souvenir of a bygone era serves not only as a calming touchstone, but a reminder that as long as we choose to see it, we are still surrounded by beauty and grace. Presented to retain the charm and beauty of the original volume filled with Holden’s hand-drawn illustrations of the English countryside’s flora and fauna through the changing seasons of the year, as well as handwritten notes, observations, and quotations, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady makes a lovely addition to any home’s library or side table.

Looking for a gorgeous gift book for a nature lover? Have I got a book for you!

Edith Holden was a British artist and teacher who lived from 1871 – 1920. In 1906, she spent a year documenting the beauty of the world around her through her journals, which were first published in 1977.

Rizzoli reissued this beautiful replication of Edith Holden’s work in 2018, and I’m so glad I stumbled across it. This high-quality hardcover features thick, sturdy pages, filled with the words and illustrations that the author originally recorded.

Organized by month, Edith Holden includes background information on the calendar, some mottos and rhymes about each month, a day-by-day recording of the plants, animals, and weather she encounters, and beautiful illustrations of the natural world she observes. Mixed in with these are also a rich array of poems that she’s selected, all of which complement her writing and drawings.

For me, the true highlight is the illustrations. They’re just beautiful. Not being a huge poetry fan, I ended up skimming a lot of these (ugh, I’m so unsophisticated and lack a decent appreciation for poems), but they’re still nice to have.

I read through the entire book, and I think this is one I’ll keep handy for a quick peek whenever I need a pick-me-up. This would be an amazing gift for the gardener or nature lover or poetry fan in your life!

To see more examples of Edith Holden’s artwork, visit this site, which handles licensing for all related merchandise (and has a nice gallery of images to browse through).

There’s also a coloring book:

And who knew? There was even a TV series about Edith Holden!

As for how I first became interested, I have to be honest and say it’s all about the jigsaw puzzles! I had never even heard of this book until I stumbled across a set of seasonal jigsaw puzzles inspired by Edith Holden… and even after I’d completed all four, I had no idea there was a book until a kind friend mentioned it to me.

This book would make a terrific gift for someone who loves beautiful books, nature, gardens, even historical diaries! Or maybe even a nice little treat for yourself.

6 thoughts on “A gorgeous book to give: The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

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