July 25, 2013

Beauty, Bookmarks & Branch

Today, I am going to reveal my obsession with all things beautiful in general and Susan Branch’s illustrations in particular, as well as to share with you some photos of my bookmark collection.

What constitutes beauty? Nobody knows. The same thing can be perceived both beautiful and ugly, depending on the beholder. There are certainly lots of people who find beauty in Francis Bacon’s paintings, but I truly dislike them. By contrast, I’m a huge fan of Gainsborough or Monet. Also, even though it is considered stylish and modern, and costs a fortune, I would never ever live in a concrete cube, such as this. But, I would love to live in a charming Georgian mansion house, such as this, even if I would be deemed old-fashioned. Likewise, I prefer pretty dresses to jeans, silk and lace to cotton, roses to daises, nail polish and make up to bare face and nails etc. etc. I am very Anneish in this respect . . .

This is also the reason why it is and has always been very important to me how my books and bookmarks look like. There is nothing more disappointing than a book printed on a rough and stinky paper. I don’t like to touch such books and can’t even fancy reading them. Likewise, I always need some pretty bookmarks to accompany my readings; otherwise, I would feel uncomfortable. Hence, I always looking and searching for stylish bookmarks when I go shopping. Here is a picture of some of the many bookmarks, I have collected over the years.

However, about two years ago, when I used to live in Switzerland, I somehow wasn’t able to find any “decent” bookmarks. So, I went online and searched, and searched, and searched. And, after many hours I came across Susan Branch’s website and blog, and, as it was one of the most beautiful websites I had ever seen, I fell in love with it immediately. If you haven’t heard of her yet, you should go and check out her site (don’t forget to subscribe to Willard, the best newsletter you’ve ever received), because besides being a highly talented illustrator, she IS a kindred spirit.

Susan’s works seem to be inspired by her adoration of Beatrix Potter, but they are nevertheless highly original. She is also an avid fan of Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery, and all things British. And she is, of course, a passionate cook and gardener, and a bookworm. Susan is also the author of several cookbooks and books about housekeeping, all of which she has written and illustrated by hand. Her newest book, A Fine Romance, is about to be published and recounts the events of her visit to England last summer. This book is highly recommended to readers who love the English countryside, would like to read a rather extraordinary travel book, and prefer watercolour illustrations to fancy high-gloss photos.

So, back in 2011, I discovered Susan Branch’s world and have stalked followed her ever since. And, I have happily printed, cut out, and added the bookmarks provided by her for free to my collection. Aren’t they just beautiful?

On June 26, 2013 then, Susan told her followers in a post that she would give away a Beatrix Potter bookmark to someone lucky. This bookmark wasn’t meant to be a bookmark; originally, it was planned to be an illustration for the new book, but Susan was somehow unhappy with it. So, she had used it as a scrap paper, before deciding to cut it up and making bookmarks from the strips. And, guess who was the lucky one who won the Beatrix Potter bookmark? Yeah right, it’s ME! When I got the email from Susan, I just went crazy . . . And, a couple of weeks later, one of the most stylish and beautiful envelopes ever arrived in Hungary, containing a short note by Susan and the bookmark. This is how it looked like:

As you may see, the bookmark is also signed and personalised by her! Can you imagine how excited and happy I was and have been since? And, because I’m so glad, I wanted to thank her publicly. Which is why this post came into being . . . So, thank you indeed, Susan!

PS: In case you are wondering how you could have your own Susan Branch bookmarks, be sure to check out these posts over on her blog: The Wonderful Magical Moon . . . Bella Luna; Hearts and Flowers; Went to a Garden Party . . .; Blessings; Critters, Springtime and YOU!; Here Comes Summer . . .; Minutia (of the best kind); as well as the "free stuff section" of her shop.


  1. Such a lovely post!! I feel the same way about books, bookmarks, and beautiful things in general. I've been a Susan Branch fan for some time and own several of her cookbooks, but did not know about her blog. Have just subscribed to her newsletter, too. Thank you!

  2. I love your bookmark collection! I like the one with the owl.
    I don't have any nice bookmarks as I am forever losing them or ruining them.

  3. And right now is when I finally saw this Eszter! Isn't that amazing? So nice to read this and remember! xoxo

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