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white hyacinths, winter light

January 20, 2014

One of the pleasures of winter is the pared-backness of things. Cool, northern light; white blooms on a white-shuttered windowsill: these elements have a serenity which I find as appealing as the more colourful complexity of summer.

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Wintery side-light often reminds me of the paintings of Vermeer. In his art the subject is, inevitably, lit from the (left) side by pale light slanting through a window. It is the light above all, I think, which gives his paintings their grace and sense of calm, whether the figures in them are making music or simply pouring milk.

Jan Vermeer (1632-75), ‘The Milkmaid’

But back to those hyacinths…

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You might enjoy And another thing: snowdrops; alternatively some cheerfully colourful anemones are bound to brighten your day.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2014 12:31 am

    When I first opened the post, I thought “it looks like a Dutch painting.” Then had to laugh because you saw that, too. This is the first year in a long time I don’t have some bulbs blooming (Molly would destroy and eat them for sure). Enjoyed seeing yours

    • January 28, 2014 11:22 pm

      Our spaniel will upend any flower-pot full of hyacinths, given the chance, and scatter damp earth and half-chewed bulbs over an astonishingly wide area of chair/ cushion/ carpet. It can’t be good for her tummy, and it certainly isn’t good for my blood pressure! I now keep them on high windowsills where she can’t reach them.

  2. January 21, 2014 7:32 am

    Beautiful photos and lighting, and I like your comparison with Vermeer – how many ‘shades of shadow’ are in that painting? Wish I could smell the hyacinths! Gorgeous – one of my favourite spring bulbs.

    • January 28, 2014 11:23 pm

      Thank you. I was thinking as I uploaded the photos that we really need ‘scratch’n’sniff’ blog technology. :)

  3. January 31, 2014 9:50 pm

    Gorgeous photos and I can almost smell the dizzying intensity of their scent. I too spotted the Dutch painting resemblance, probably because Vermeer is one of my great favourites.

    • February 1, 2014 12:24 am

      Mine too: he was a master of light, wasn’t he? All our bulbs are in bloom now, perfuming the air all the way up the front stairs. Heavenly.

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