During the power cut yesterday evening I finished reading

being the fourth of Anthony Trollope’s Barsetshire novels.

I have to say I found this one rather ponderous in its political and philosophical passages, giving the impression that the periodical pattern of its publication promoted such prolixity.

Trollope’s familiar themes of love, marriage, and matriarchal machinations; the mores of the period; the importance of appearance over authenticity, and status over sincerity; devious deception, and struggles of conscience, are treated in this continuing chronicle of clerical kinship.

To my mind the author is at his best when dealing with the characters of his subjects, in particular through his easy command of dialogue, and his descriptions of his period.

Julian Symons has written a helpful introduction in which he acknowledges that he is at odds with many critics.

The Folio Society aims to commission illustrators commensurate in style with the periods of their publications. Peter Reddick’s elegantly delicate drawings perfectly fit the bill. Each is placed within the text of a single page, on a rather smaller scale than these I produce here.

A comparison of these with the same man’s woodcuts for Hardy’s ‘The Return of the Native’ provides ample examples of this illustrator’s versatility

On this dull but dry day Jackie continued with her planting as in this orange themed chimney pot,

and tidying along the Gazebo Path. She watched the blue tit at top right of this picture

feeding on sunflower seed hearts which it

carried up to the wisteria,

placing it beneath its foot with which it gripped the nugget while it nibbled away. This was done repeatedly.

Our very own Nugget, still skittish and clearly occupied elsewhere, is back investigating Jackie’s activities.

“Where’s Nugget?” (70)

The pieris behind the Nottingham Castle bench in the picture above is one example of the red/green complimentary colours that Jackie photographed along with all today’s photographs.


Another is shown by these geranium palmatum leaves turning red to warm up in cold weather.

The red Japanese maple stands beneath the golden one behind it;

 the red leaves and gold flowers of this heuchera repeat that combination.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower, carrots, runner beans, and red cabbage with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cap Royal Bordeaux Supérieur 2016.


Published by derrickjknight

I am an octogenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what I see, and rambling in my head as memories are triggered. I also ramble through a lifetime's photographs. In these later years much rambling is done in a car.

89 thoughts on “Versatility

  1. The book illustrations are well done.

    Good to see little Nugget, even hiding behind the feeder on a grey day. The gardens look beautiful in any kind of weather!

  2. It’s great to catch a glimpse of Nugget, even if he is playing at being shy. Peter Reddick is a wonderful illustrator – and multi-talented! It puts my early hours of the morning effort into sorry perspective! Note to self: must keep practising 🙂 The maples are rather glorious!!

  3. Perfectly ponderful peaceful post! 🙂

    The book sounds interesting and the illustrations are a joy to look at! 🙂

    So good to see Nugget out and about and playing Where’s Nugget again! I spotted him trying to hide from us! 🙂 That vest he wears gave him away! 😉 😀
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  4. Derrick, you are spoiled. When does Jackie have time to prepare, manufacture and serve such delicious meals after an arduous day tending the garden? (I thought I’d thrown in ‘manufacture’ instead if ‘cook’). Do you have goldfinch and mocking birds?

  5. Derrick, while I was writing my first reply, I heard a bang on our front picture window. Upon checking, there’re feathers stuck ton the glass and a dazed grackle or starling trying to regain his senses below the window.

  6. Delightful post Derrick. I love these illustrations of your book. I am only familiar with Anthony Trollope’s works via the televised Barchester Chronicles (1982) to which Ian introduced me and which I enjoyed tremendously. I just love English drama and film.
    Your garden looking great as usual, you have some interesting subjects growing.

  7. So glad that Nugget is still a friend! The illustrations really do give the feel for that type of period novel. Jackie takes very good care of you!

  8. I like seeing these illustrations, Derrick. I do not know this book, Family Parsonage, but I have read a lot of Thomas Hardy books, none illustrated though. Thanks for sharing your bird pics too – an active day for them I think 🙂

  9. In the drawings,I found the women’s fashions intriguing, but the men’s attire of the times (especially your 18th photo) were very much a show of their status…Thank you for all these copies Derrick…

  10. That is extensive pictorial reproduction of the sketches from Trollope’s book that I understand made for a a ponderous reading. The artist’s versatile artwork appears to have complimented the narration well. Jackie’s themed photography is striking, particularly the image containing the Japanese maples against the background of a green leaved sibling. Nugget is perched behind the feeder, peeking through the left.

  11. I see you are given to alliterations now, Derrick. I have never gotten through to the end of this novel, I confess, but I attributed it to poor translation into Russian. The illustration are excellent, though.
    Welcome back, Mr Nugget!

  12. Oh to be able to draw! So much is revealed in these drawings: humour, pathos, pain and primness. Lovely garden pictures are a joy to see as we wend out way towards colder weather.

  13. I’ve always wondered whether books by authors such as Trollope, Scott, Balzac, Zola, Dostoevsky and many others will just fade away as the years pass by. Even universities don’t study either French or Russian literature in any great depth, as I did forty or so years ago. How will people nowadays even get to hear of people such as Pushkin, Malraux, Camus and so on? Perhaps there’s some kind of literary survival of the fittest constantly at work, gradually putting such authors to sleep.

      1. Hi Derrick,

        Did you use a desktop or laptop computer to view my website?

        I have checked my website and even the spam comments, and I can assure you that there has been no comment coming from you at all.

        There are already nearly 30 comments there in the said post published at

        Please be informed that you might need to use a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen to view the rich multimedia contents available for heightening your multisensory enjoyment at SoundEagle’s websites, some of which could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

        In this post, you will be able to enjoy my graphical cartoons, animations, listen to my music, read the music scores, and even vote for your favourite version of the ragtime.

      2. I’m sorry – but the message about being sent to Spam came up when I posted the comment. Whatever the problem, I can’t spend any more time on it now.

      3. Hi Derrick,

        I would like to inform you that since two other bloggers have just left their comments on my website within the last hour, it can be concluded that the problem lie with your system. All the best to you finding a solution.

        Happy April to you!

  14. I was especially interested in the geranium leaves. Last fall and winter, I kept finding very small, notched leaves that were wonderfully colored with oranges and reds growing among similar, still-green leaves. This spring, I finally figured it out. The leaves belong to a tiny native wildflower that’s in the geranium family: Geranium carolinianum. Love those family resemblances!

  15. I liked seeing the blue tit hold its seed down with its foot. I’m pretty sure I have not seen that before, and glad you captured it for us. It was also good to see Nugget. Every time I am away from your blog for a long time (like I have been), I worry that something drastic has happened to our robin friend and I’ll find out about it. Always a relief to hear you mention him, or show a photo. I imagine his skittishness is related to springtime somehow.

  16. Great to see you making the most of the power outage. Whenever that happens here, I feel as if I’m living during the period described in the novel you’re reading! Delicate and detailed drawings. Your garden pets know they’ve got it good!

  17. I enjoyed watching the blue tit at his nibbles. I’m glad to see the return of Nugget! I’ve been wondering where he’d gone.

    I don’t think I’ve read any Anthony Trollope, and the following pronouncement precludes me from partaking:

    “I have to say I found this one rather ponderous in its political and philosophical passages, giving the impression that the periodical pattern of its publication promoted such prolixity.”

  18. Whatever one feels about the writing, the woodcuts are brilliant. You realise you could make a fortune if you ripped the book apart and framed each illustration. (Please don’t think of that as a suggestion.)

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