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A Blossom in the Desert Hardcover – September 1, 2007
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From the Back Cover
In 1888, Lilias Trotter, daughter of a distinguished Victorian family, left her comfortable upper-class lifestyle in London to venture into the Arab world of Algeria and Northern Africa, where she spent the rest of her life living out the life and light and love of Jesus Christ to those around her. Lilias viewed the world with "heartsight as deep as eyesight", and her artistic talent took both visual and verbal form as she documented in words and sketches the seasons of her forty years in Algeria.
The exquisite paintings and deeply inspirational writings in A Blossom in the Desert are drawn from the extensive body of work Lilias Trotter left: devotional books and leaflets, journals and letters, and thirty astonishingly beautiful page-a-day diaries. Lilias believed God has two textbooks--Scripture and Creation--and she studied both. Day by day, decade upon decade, through the seasons of her life, Lilias recorded in watercolors and words her observations filtered through her heavenly vision: God working out His purposes on a land and in a people.
"Lilias painted and wrote in obscurity with no concern for fame or recognition. Yet there is no doubt that she would welcome the reader to 'come and look' at her writings and watercolors--with 'heartsight' as well as 'eyesight.' A Blossom in the Desert introduces to you the vision--visible and invisible--of the remarkable Lilias Trotter! Come. Look. See!"
-from the Introduction by Miriam Huffman Rockness
Top Customer Reviews
We who admire Lilias Trotter have waited a long time actually to see her artwork. Until now, it was hidden away in the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University and in the archives of the Arab World Ministries. We owe a huge debt to Rockness for laboring to bring these exquisite works to the public.
Lilias Trotter was an upper-class English woman of the Victorian era whose drawings and water colors were admired by John Ruskin, the art authority of the day. He foresaw for her a life of glory and fame if she devoted herself to her art.
Instead, she turned her back on that dream and followed the calling of God to Algeria, arriving in 1888 and dying there 40 years later. As so often happens, she discovered that God wasn't asking her to give up her talent, but to use it in a different place for different purposes.
Among other things, she often illustrated her journal entries and the letters she sent home with her artwork, a visual treasure of North Africa as it was then. She also wrote several small books of meditations, often springing from her observations of nature and always illustrated with her drawings.Read more ›
A Blossom in the Desert begins with a testimony from Rockness of how she first came to know, admire, and seek out the work of Lilias Trotter to fulfill her vision of seeing Trotter in print again. It is a story of God's providence. After reading this collection, I am convinced God is pleased with the unearthing of Trotter's work and will be glorified if more of His people follow her exemplary life. Trotter's mentor promised that "she would be the greatest living painter and do things that would be Immortal." In Trotter's mind, "to be Immortal" would mean she would have to "give herself up to art." She wrote, "I see clear as daylight now, I cannot give myself to painting in the way he means and continue to 'seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.'" She forsook all the fame and riches of this world, the approval of her friends and family, to follow Christ in ministering to young Muslim girls and women in northern Africa.Read more ›
Who was Lilias Trotter (1853-1928)? As a young gentrified woman in London, she grew dissatisfied with her privileged life and helped establish a hostel for poor women, which eventually led to the founding of the YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association). On the side she was drawing and painting. Her artwork came to the attention of --- and quite astounded --- art critic John Ruskin. As Ruskin pushed her to "give herself up to art," Trotter responded rather to a spiritual nudge to abandon art training and its potential fame and move to Algeria to share the light and love of Christ in the North African desert. (For more details, see my review of Miriam Huffman Rockness's 2003 biography of Trotter, A PASSION FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE.)
Yet Trotter never lost her appreciation for the beauty of creation and architectural forms. She never stopped her eye and hand from artistically interpreting what she viewed, whether on holiday in the Alps or at home in the desert. For 30 years Trotter "kept" a page-a-day diary in which she reflected on and painted her world. From these diaries, sketchbooks and some illustrated booklets, Rockness has produced this stunning devotional scrapbook, organized in three sections: light, love and faith. Each two-page spread features one or more watercolors, along with a Bible verse and a Trotter reflection.
The words: The most delightful selections are short lessons and parables drawn from nature. "The daisies have been talking again...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have all her books, talented artist that went to her calling over talent.Published 2 months ago by Randall Laue
Beautiful book, stunning artwork and wonderful prose with inspirationPublished 6 months ago by Melodee Staggers
A Blossom in the Desert unveils the life and character of Lilias Trotter as well as the exquisite artwork, prose and poetry that she produced in what many would consider a barren... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Betty Ann Parkerson
I am so thrilled about this book...I love Lilias Trotter's story and art work and now to have both in one book is great. The size is great too... Read morePublished 14 months ago by snd12
This book is amazing - the artwork is delicate, refined and pure. It interprets scriptures and the author's experiences in Algeria over 100 years ago.Published 16 months ago by Jerie E. Artz
This well-heeled London lady left her comfort zone to minister to the people of Algeria. Bits of her diary and pictures she beautifully watercolored are rare glimpses of her... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Elsie MacKenzie
This is my very first post, so you know it took something for me to do it. But this book deserves all 5 stars. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Beverly
The author did a fantastic job of compiling the writings and paintings of Lillian Trotter. So beautifully laid out, and the combination of the paintings, scripture and devotional... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Colleen M Yim