Coffee Table Books

Christina here. During the Christmas holidays I’ve had a chance to relax a bit and do things I don’t normally have time for. One of them is to leaf through some of the many coffee table books I own – and I have to admit there are rather a lot of them!

I’m not sure why I have so many. They’re not exactly necessary and yet seem to accrue of their own accord. Many of them are from exhibitions I’ve attended, especially those of my favourite artists, while others are on subjects close to my heart. I’m never quite sure why I buy them as I don’t usually read them – I’ll only flick through the pages to look at the photos. Admittedly, most of them do have gorgeous pictures!

DuchessToday I thought I’d tell you about a few of the ones I love best, the ones I keep returning to and never tire of looking at, and why. Then I’d love for you to tell me about yours! (Even if that means my collection grows larger as you tempt me …)

My absolute favourite is The Duchess of Devonshire’s Ball by Sophia Murphy. On 2nd July 1897 the then Duchess of Devonshire held a fancy dress ball in her London mansion in Piccadilly, Devonshire House. It was a glittering occasion and a very special ball, but what made it unique is that the duchess had all her guests photographed as they arrived and then had the pictures put into a privately printed album for herself. The costumes are out of this world, and some of them must have cost an absolute fortune. Some of the guests look ridiculous, others uncomfortable, and one can only wonder how they managed to dance all night in their finery. For me, the guest that stood out the most was the Duchess of Portland who was so beautiful, she would have looked regal in a sack. I can readily imagine her as the heroine of a romantic novel as she must have had suitors in droves!

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