Tuesday 2 December 2008
The Ice Maiden
Last Christmas I visited one of my favourite exhibition spaces, Dulwich Picture Gallery, for their The Age of Enchantment exhibition about Beardsley, Dulac and other illustrators, including some Arthur Rackham, from 1890 to 1930. I had been so looking forward to the exhibition and it was a feast for the eyes and mind.
I particularly fell in love with the Ice Maiden picture above and have a poster I bought at the exhibition as a kind of Christmas decoration. It's a strange picture I suppose in that she looks so calm and serene but she is clearly cupping a heart in her hands so I wonder if she is as angelic as she looks. She seems able to tame Polar bears so she must be very powerful or knowledgeable, or perhaps they have a great respect for her. I think the mystery makes the picture more interesting.
Whenever I look at this illustration I think of the scent of Crabtree and Evelyn's Winter Birch. This sadly seems to be discontinued from their main sites but I did find some independent American sites which are still selling some of the line, including this one.
From memory it is a startling well put together home fragrance; it smells of walking through snow in darkness or fading light as the ice maiden is doing, there are fir trees nearby and in the far distance a house with a gentle glow of warmth and the scent of mulling and logs from the chimney floats on the breeze. It is both a scent that smells of the cold but is also incredibly warming and comforting. I really regret not stocking up on more of the candles last year and am going to have to track some down so I can be my own kind of ice maiden.
Winter Birch picture courtesy of: https://www.paradiseemporium.com.au/companyProducts.asp?id=465
The Ice Maiden by Aubrey Beardlsey picture courtesy of: www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk