Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Victorian treasure

Well, I have been lax in maintaining this blog quite simply because the year in Marrakech has not started yet, and in these last couple of weeks there have been many things to do, mostly involving packing. Currently, there are six open suitcases arranged around my sitting room, some full but all containing books. Goodness, so *many* books. You see, unfortunately, my wished-for postdoctoral area has nothing to do with my PhD topic, and if I am to publish anything with a view to getting some sort of post-doctoral position next year (or the year after, or the year after that...) then I have quite a lot of reading to do. Mercifully I have the language aspect in hand, but I will have a whole new cultural context to learn about, but in a country with limited access to the sort of material I need. Therefore I go to Marrakech laden with rather more books than can be easily moved about. Or course, I don't necessarily require any of Patrick O'Brien's books, or anything from the delightful publisher, Persephone Books (may I particularly recommend The Making of a Marchioness?) but frankly, I consider the fact that I will be travelling without a single Georgette Heyer to be quite the sacrifice as it is.

Anyway, I'm here to talk about Marrakech. Well. Not really. I'm going to talk about the latest thing to be added to the pile of belongings coming with us, or it will be when it arrives. I'm talking about something I have wanted for quite a while and which I finally caved in and purchased this evening, inspired and spurred on by the wonderful costumes in the film of Vanity Fair. Finally I am the proud owner of a paisley shawl. It is Victorian and a tremendous twelve by six feet! The colours are red, burgundy and orange, with a little grey and forest green. Unfortunately I only have a couple of very bad pictures of if, but here they are anyway -

Isn't it divine? While I fully plan to wear it, if only indoors, in the cooler weather (and apparently Marrakech can get very chilly in winter, with temperatures dipping down to about 5 degrees), don't you think it will look wonderful idly thrown over a bed or couch in the meantime?

Unfortunately I cannot find any pictures online this evening which do the glories of Victorian paisley shawls any justice, but if you are curious, do have another look at Vanity Fair as the shawls which are worn by every woman in the film are simply to die for and in the most divine colours. Now, I'm not sure how historically accurate these colours are, as I haven't seen anything like those gorgeous turquoises or saffrons in the shawls that I have seen online, although I have seen (and been outbid on) beautiful cream-centred shawls with pink borders... They seem to have enjoyed the same ubiquity at the time as pashminas do for us now, but pashminas (while as cosy as ever) seem rather drab compared to the glorious colours adorning Reese, such as in this photo from the film.

So perhaps not quite a post about Marrakech after all, but certainly allusive to the treasures of the East, no?

1 comment:

Bhavna said...

The shawl is beautiful Sarah! If you ever come down to India, I can help you find more of these in mind boggling array of colors :)