Today I am very happy to be sharing with you a painting inspired by one of my favorite books, “The White Witch” by Elizabeth Goudge. This is “Froniga’s Garden,” which depicts the main character Froniga Haslewood in her cottage garden picking herbs with her faithful cat Pen by her side. The novel is set in the 17th century during the time of the English Civil War, and explores the lives, beliefs, convictions and lessons of a variety of characters. Froniga is my favorite– ‘the white witch’– who is half English and half Romani, and how she navigates between two very different cultures during a time of extreme upheaval. Her garden is a place of peace and renewal, and is a place I’ve wanted to paint since I read the book in 2019.
As you know, a LOT happened in life and in the world between autumn 2019 and now. But after seeing Elizabeth Goudge’s home listed for sale online and seeing photos of the house— which inspired this novel– I felt the time was right to paint it.
In her autobiography “The Joy of the Snow”, Goudge wrote that when she first moved into her home Rose Cottage, she thought she saw the ghost of a 17th century woman walking in the garden. That experience led Goudge to imagine what might have happened around her home centuries before and who might of lived there. And with that, she created Froniga– the strong, independent young woman with a talent for herbal healing who tries to hold her family together while the world around them falls apart.
When creating this piece, I took inspiration from both photos of the real Rose Cottage that Goudge called home as well as a photo of Oakhurst Cottage in my book “Cottage Gardens” by Claire Masset (shared on March 5 in my Good Things Gathered). I am a big fan of half wild, big blousy gardens and I knew Froniga would have a beautiful one just outside her door.
The original painting is currently available in my etsy shop, and I will have prints made up in the future. I hope you like the piece, I had a lot of fun making it and want to paint even MORE flowers! Spring is here and I am in the mood for FLOWERS!
Thank you for your visit today–