The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

Just once, I would like to fill the pages of a journal or diary from cover to cover. If anything will inspire you, this book will.


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. from Amazon


Posthumously published, Edith Holden’s diary catalogs her love of nature through her diary entries and her beautiful watercolors. There is very little in the way of her personal life in these pages but, through her copied poems, lists of wild flowers found in her area, small facts, and larger observations, her priorities in life are clear – nature!

Edith’s diary is from 1906 but, because it is largely a nature journal, it feels timeless. These “nature notes,” even in the fascimille form that I purchased, inspire a sense of peace when you page through the book. And, I can’t help but wonder of the training and practice that went into this book.

I have always wanted to complete an annual journal like this. Drawings, observations, quotes I have read – I feel that so many people wish they had the dedication to perform a similar feat over the course of the year. Perhaps this is why her country diary remains so popular today.

It is made all the more poignant for me when I learned that Edith died while out trying to gather branches, presumably to draw. Numerous reports indicate that she stood on two stumps of wood, stretched out with her umbrella to reach some branches, and fell into the river Thames, drowning. She was only 48.

If you are looking to feel inspired, or simply need a gift for a nature lover, this book certainly fits the bill. I find myself reaching for it through the day and paging through it over and over again as slowly, the wonder of nature and the relative simplicity of Edith’s life washes over me.

Tell me, please! Have you ever wanted to / actually completed an annual journal?


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