27 December 2009

seven swans a swimming, one lord a leaping,1 lady being~ DiVine

Some of the most wonderful things about the world we live in today is that we can look back, actually thanks to the incomparable Diana Vreeland, we can look back to these wonderful things. Is there much that inspires you in today's publications?

The goddess of Vogue from the late 60's of course was Diana Vreeland- after her reign there-
does anything compare?

Inspiration from her editorial skills and innate sense of style and beauty gave us the great Valentine Lawford-Pauline de Rothschild pairing, & the Richard Avedon-Verushka sojourn to Japan.

In Eleanor Dwight's DIANA VREELAND, an all encompassing book about the Great One, DV's fascination with the novel MOBY DICK, the great white whale, led to a  photography shoot with Lord Snowdon and white whales for the December 1968 Christmas issue. Other WHITES were white horses and white swans. According the Eleanor Dwight book, " Tony dahling", drew the line at photographing white tigers in India...

DV "They are so aristocratic, so ravishing."
TS  " But Deeanna there's a war going on between Palistan and India. All my photographer friends are going to shoot that. I can't take white tigers."

Here- are the Snowdon Royal Swans from Vogue December 1965-thus ending the holiday posts from collected House and Gardens and Vogue magazines of the era-a swan song of sorts.

The swans Snowdon photographed in 1965 belonged to Lady Galway whose family had kept a swannery for over 300 years at the time. Today the Galway Swannery at Abbotsbury in Dorset is owned by the only surviving daughter of the 9th Viscount Galway,Charlotte Townsend. She is the only person in Britain other than the Queen entitled to own swans. (read more here in the Daily mail)

The royal swans were marked on the bills of the birds to indicate ownership- This Swan-Roll around 1603-the Cantley is from the Broadland region and illustrates the beak mark indicators and the names of the owners.

from the article~ 

DV photograph by Bill King 1977 for Blackglama

read more about Swan Upping on the River Thames here
read the Errant Aesthete's the fashionably Elegant Mats Gustafson here


  1. Too much fun, indeed. One of the true greats. They broke the mold on that one.

  2. Gaye, such an inspired and original post. I'll remember it each time I look at the swan ornament on my tree, hear the song, or see swan-shaped profiteroles.


  3. I love the photograph of Vreeland you selected to accompany this post. She is very swanlike in it. A black one indeed. AW

  4. I swan-nee! What fun. Always love DV's take no prisoners full tilt take on life. About the marking of swans. Perhaps an indication of too much time on one's hands? Hard to tell since I popped in from tearing out tiles on my bathroom to check on the blogs. Such a quiet sickness it is...

  5. Today people are so scared to be different - Ms V would be so fed up with many of the so called celebs . I wonder what she would have done with Vogue in 2010???

    I remember feeding the swans when I was a little girl. We have black swans in Australia and boy oh boy, can they be mean and snap at you. Sort of Like Ms V on a bad day really! LOL

  6. I LOVE this post. Diana Vreeland at her best! All the best to you in the New Year 2010!

  7. Magnificent! Your ability to unite the disparate never fails to amaze. Wonderful Mademoiselle V swan-like photo as mentioned. Glorious and grand as is the imagery of the song.

  8. I do love a swan- all sorts. Especially those like Diana Vreeland. I do believe the days of the great magazines are over-sadly, there will not be another like DV.

  9. I love this. Swans are treasured beings in my home- so much so that my love has one tattooed on his forearm.

  10. Of all your juxtapositions, this is one of the most dramatic and glorious.



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