Jane Flanagan is an Irish journalist and blogger, now living in Toronto, Canada. Her blog Ill Seen, Ill Said (named after a work of short fiction by Samuel Beckett) is a showcase of Jane’s passions, from design and fashion to poetry, books and philosophy. Posts include a weekly installment of inspiring women from history and present day. Jane also recently launched a webshop called Coterie — a natural extension of her blog style.
This collection is inspired by some of my favourite female writers. Both their work and their personal style carry a strong visual note that speaks to the era they wrote in, as well as their outlook. And while it’s unlikely that any of us would adopt the style of these writers verbatim, I like the idea of including a little nod, in your home or your wardrobe, to a favourite writer, character or book.
[Clockwise from top left: You Are So Jane Greeting Card from Janet Hill INK; Miss Austen Gauntlets, cotton and soya from Inner Wild; Jane Austen Quotation Oval Glass Paperweight from Bixler & Johnson; Mr. Darcy Proposal Dish Towel from Brookish Handmadegoods]
Austen’s novels have been translated into some of the most visually captivating movies of recent times. Nearly everybody has a favourite Austen heroine or novel that stands up to repeated re-reading (mine is Persuasion ‘s Anne Elliot). Her characters, comedy and romance continue to inspire. Here are some favourite objects for an Austen aficionado.
[Clockwise from top right: REDOUTE Vintage 1990 Art Print from Naturalist Collection; Vintage 50s Nylon Opera Gloves from Studio 1950; Art Deco Marcasite Necklace from Nouveau Motley; Silverplate tea set from Sadie Olive]
Sharing her insider view of New York’s privileged class, Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer for The Age of Innocence. Her novels portray a class at odds with itself — outwardly exhibiting good manners and poise but secretly passionate, corrupt and deceitful. Wharton was also known as a gardener and interior designer and her home, The Mount, is preserved as an example of her design principles.
[Clockwise from top left: Pomegranate Bookplates by Lampyridae Press; Virgina Wolf Print by earthakitten; Bloomsbury Notebook by Leatherarts; Virginia Wolf Canvas Tote by amandertot; Biba Style Floral Velvet Dress from Iondablanca.]
Virginia Woolf’s most famous works include the novels Mrs. Dalloway and Orlando and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own with its famous directive, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Woolf and the Bloomsbury artistic and design style of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant are intertwined, and Charleston House is bound to inspire any Woolf fan.
[Clockwise from top right: Pearl strand necklace from Designs by Diane; 1960s vintage black cocktail dress from Greatest Friend; Peacock feather pad from Pegasus 22; Gothic era photo of tree lined Bonaventure Cemetery from The Thanatos Archive; Antonio Miro vintage eyeglasses from mod vintage]
The Gothic storyteller Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, especially A Good Man Is Hard to Find, are among my favourite. Her stories are rooted in the South and often revolve around characters with deep moral flaws. In her life, O’Connor was fascinated by birds of all kinds and images of peacocks recur in her stories. O’Connor wrote more than two dozen short stories and two novels while battling lupus, but succumbed to the illness when she was just 39 years old.
Thanks to Jane. What female writer serves as your muse?