Thursday, April 11, 2019

Regarding Estella Canziani

Way back around Thanksgiving — more than four months ago! — I wrote: "I have posts about Estella Canziani, Phyllis Stalnaker, Florence Darlington, Loren E. Trueblood and Margaret Lynch Capone that I'd like to get cleared off the decks, so stay tuned for those."

Well, I've taken care of Stalnaker, Darlington and Capone. So that leaves Canziani and Trueblood. The latter, a potentially fascinating tale, still requires some research that I haven't gotten to yet.

But today's a good day to say a little about Estella Canziani. I can never quite remember the path that led me to certain discoveries online, but I believe this September 2018 tweet was primarily responsible for piquing my curiosity...

The tweet was accompany by this image of a bookplate...

Canziani has a short biography on Wikipedia, which states the she had the ultra-cool resume of British portrait and landscape painter, interior decorator, travel writer, and folklorist. She was a Quaker and member of the SPCA who authored three books: Costumes, Traditions and Songs of Savoy (1911), Piedmont (1913) and Through the Apennines and the Lands of the Abruzzi (1928).

The Wikipedia entry also highlights another of her amazing bookplates...

By Published by A Fowler, Kansas City, MO - The Bookplate Annual for 1921 (free pdf from, Public Domain, Link

On The Library Time Machine, Dave Walker wrote a pair of terrific, image-filled posts about Canziani in January 2016. I direct you to those (Part 1, Part 2) to learn more about her life. I especially loved this passage by Walker:
"In 1967, shortly after her death a newspaper described her as the Bird Lady, an eccentric old woman still wearing the fashions of her youth and the house as a shambles infested by birds and other small animals. It seems a shame that people are often judged by how they were (or might have been) at the end of their lives. When a life is finished we are free to look at the whole story, see the whole pattern and pick the greatest hits. No doubt the house in Palace Green was a bit of a mess but you could also choose to view it as a collection of wonders, mundane and exotic and a kind of wonderland. A lively little girl grew up to be a talented artist. She filled the house with mementos of her life and travels. Given her interest in folklore and fairies and the proximity of faery-infested Kensington Gardens you could imagine her house as a gateway into a world of wonders."

No comments:

Post a Comment