From Publishers Weekly
Sadly, the name of Lilias Trotter is no longer remembered by many people, except those 19th-century art experts who recall her as the painter who caused art critic John Ruskin to rhapsodically change his mind about the ability of women to be artists. Though all but forgotten now as an artist, Trotter (1853–1928) is venerated as a pioneering Christian missionary—she founded and funded a mission in North Africa where she served for nearly 40 years. In this gift book, Rockness, author of the Trotter biography A Passion for the Impossible
, brings together Trotter's dual lives—promising artist in her 20s, devoted missionary in her 30s and beyond—by pairing Trotter's paintings and sketches with devotional thoughts from her journals and many books, including Parables of the Cross
. Trotter was clearly a deep thinker with a poetic soul, and her paintings practically shimmer on the page. While they match up perfectly with her devotions, the scripture references can sometimes feel less relevant or tacked on; it would also be helpful if the source or context of each Trotter quote were identified. Still, this lovely book is a feast for the eyes and the spirit. (Nov.)
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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