Far from the Madding Crowd


Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

I love books. Real paper and ink books that are old and have that old book scent. I can get lost for hours reading. It appears (to me) we have moved away from the art of long story telling that includes miniscule detail, comment on society, in-depth discussion of clothing, the landscape and the complexity of human relationships in painstaking detail. I think the Gold Finch was the most modern book over 400 pages I’ve read in recent times. Caught up with fast fashion, fast food, fast writing. Through my readings I have learnt it is reasonable for me to stand my ground and not bend to the will of others. And I continue to learn! Bathsheba has recently become another heroine who has stolen my heart and increased my courage.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

I hold a copy of Far From the Madding Crowd somewhere in my home but have yet to read it. I need to commit. However before I commit, I need to locate it…. Classic novels I have made it through include Les Miserables, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Mill on the Floss, Jane Eyre.  Authors including George Elliot, Leo Tolstoy, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

I am going to exclude Gone with the Wind in this category (tried to re read recently, it was impossible), however it requires mention as it was the first book I read that didn’t have the happy ending. I cried for weeks (literally) because Rhett decided enough was enough. Scarlett and I were devastated. I even based my debutante ball dress the dress that she wore for barbecue.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

I adore Russian literature, and have a long love for classic texts with complex characters. English classic literature is a close second. And I love collecting the older books that have previously been owned by others. I was the custodian of the most beautiful copy of Anna Karenina printed in the 1960’s on the thinest of paper with the smallest of type. Unfortunately my Burmese cat, Isaac, chose to place it in the fish bowl. He looked me in the eye and with one foul swoop of his paw my precious book landed in the truly murky waters. Sadly the book did not survive, and I believe the fish was later the victim of murder or assisted suicide by said cat. He was a cat that only I could love.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Some of these titles have been made into spectacular movies and mini-series. The Beautiful Lie currently screening on ABC is stunning. A modern take on Anna Karenina set in contemporary Australia. The script is beautiful and the costuming divine. Colin Firth as Mr Darcy always. No explanation required. Jane Eyre was breathtaking with Mia Wasikowska.

Far from the Madding Crowd - Elisalex bodice detail

Far from the Madding Crowd – Elisalex bodice detail with false placket and no buttons

I watched Far from the Madding Crowd several months ago, and whilst taking in the story and the scenery, I started to plot new additions to my wardrobe based on Bathsheba’s daily farm wear. The long sweeping skirts, deep shades of indigo, the independent attitude she so wonderfully displayed.

Far from the Madding Crowd - back detail

Far from the Madding Crowd – back detail

Bathsheba is another heroine I can add to my list of vintage literature girl crushes.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd – lost the sheep, tending the grapes

My Gabriola skirt was the perfect pattern made in the softest Merchant and Mills linen purchased from Stitch 56. At the same time I found the block printed cotton also by Merchant and Mills for the top. I had two to choose from and decided upon the lighter for the Elisalex bodice with added peplum (drafted using the circle skirt app from By Hand London, recommend highly). I love the shaping of this bodice, having made the dress with an Anna skirt several times. The addition of the peplum suited perfectly, however it does act as a normal circle skirt would out in nature and there was much belly button flashing when the wind gusted. The second piece was used for the head scarf and a Tiny Pocket Tank.

Far from the Madding Crowd - Where the Sheep?

Far from the Madding Crowd – Where the Sheep?

Far from the Madding Crowd - There they Be!

Far from the Madding Crowd – There they Be!

The title of the book comes from the poem Elergy Written in the Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray:

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

I try to escape the madding crowd from time to time through dress ups, film, art  and literature.

What inspires you?








Photos by Bruce. Location at Clyde Park Winery. Merchant and Mills fabric purchased from Stitch 56. Shoes from Duckfeet. Flower hair piece from Gardens of Whimsy.

All film pictures remain copyrighted to their respective original owners. I had difficulty referencing some, so please let me know and I will add the appropriate acknowledgement/link.


17 thoughts on “Far from the Madding Crowd

  1. So beautiful. Have you read much Indian literature? Based on what you said you like, try A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry – a moving tale of tailors no less. I am planning another Gabriola or two. Thank you for such a thoughtful post x

    • I haven’t read that one Kerry. Shall pop it on my list. Currently trying to locate my copy of War and Peace. That should take a solid 5 years to read! xxx

  2. Beautiful clothes, scenery & photos Pips. I always had my nose in a book as a child & the classics & Agatha Christie were my favourites. In fact, I was named after Anna Karenina… here’s hoping my end is a lot less tragic!

    • You were named after Anna!!!! Oh my gosh how wonderful! I like you even more than I did yesterday! I had a dog that was “taken” from the props dept at a store I used to work for. His name was Count Voronsky and he survived until my Isaac tore him to pieces. Paper mache was not up to the challenge. xxx

  3. Great post, love the juxtaposition of those images. Books are amazing, love that you can get list in another world. Do you like Dickens? I’d recommend “our mutual friend” such a modern novel considering when it was written.

    • Thank you! I have a weird thing about Dickens. Never really liked him apart from Great Expectations. I suspect I’ll be in the Attic playing dress ups when I’m that age. I will keep an eye for Our Mutual Friend. xxx

  4. After Tess I couldn’t read any more Hardy, but I have also watched Jude with Christopher Eccleston, Kate Winslet and Rachel Griffiths. I’m watching A beautiful lie at the moment (great cast). I tend to read in phases/themes and I haven’t been back to any of the classics for a while. Then I’ll read one of those ‘100 books you should have read’ lists and read a few from it ;o)

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