About Page

Despite the name of this blog (which is explained here), I am very rarely idle. There are far too many exciting things to do. By day I am a curator at the British Museum, where I have the privilege of working with one of the most breathtaking collections in the world. When not at work, I spend my time juggling this blog, too many theatre trips, too many books, and a number of ‘fun’ projects that swallow up the rest of my leisure hours. Needless to say, I love every minute of it.

This blog began life in 2011 as a book blog and that remains its primary function. If you’d like to find out more about my library, you can explore my collection. More recently, however, the blog has evolved further identities. Since I became interested in early Italian opera in 2014, it has included reviews of operas and recitals, and it also functions as a travel journal. I started writing because I hoped to meet people who shared one or more of my passions and, over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to make some wonderful friends, many of whom have migrated off the internet and into real life.

If you’d like to contact me for any reason, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to agree or disagree with anything I’ve said here – recommend similar things you’ve enjoyed that I might like – or simply say hello! If you would like to contact me about a review, please take a look at my review policy first.

You can contact me directly here.

20 thoughts on “About

      • arwen1968 says:

        Sorry, haven’t seen that post… otherwise I’d have known better than to ask. 🙂 I’ve been reading about the Idle Woman! Looked her up on Amazon and I agree that her style is rather overblown… nevertheless I really enjoy travel journals written in ages when travel was slower and since we saw Sicily: Culture and Conquest, we put Sicily on the visit-ASAP list, so I’m going to read her Sicily diary and if it’s not too taxing, I might read the others as well.

      • The Idle Woman says:

        Oh I’m so pleased that you were interested in Frances’s books! Funnily enough I’ve never sat down and read one cover-to-cover, but have only dipped in, back and forth. I should reread them properly at some point. Her Sicily book is also interesting for her encounters with the Anglo-Sicilian nobility of the age, all of whom she knew, of course. 😉

        Don’t worry about asking! I’m always happy to answer questions about my work if I can.

      • The Idle Woman says:

        Hello Alfred – I don’t put my name on here (not deliberately, anyway, though I’m sure one could easily find it) simply because until recently I kept my personal life and professional life very separate. Even now, when the boundaries are definitely getting more porous, I like to keep a bit of distance. That’s all it is. Just a privacy choice. My name is connected with my professional life: here I’m just the Idle Woman, focusing on the things I love doing in my free time.

  1. Carlo Natali says:

    Buonasera. Mi sono imbattuto nel suo blog dopo aver finito di ascoltare l’Elena di Cavalli, perché cercavo recensioni di quel bellissimo spettacolo. Il suo blog è molto piacevole, e sono felice che lei si intesressi all’opera barocca. Per me è una scoperta di pochi mesi fa. Ed ora sto percorrendo tutti i DVD che trovo, con l’aiuto del libro della Rosand. Tornerò ancora a farle visita, se posso. Carlo

    • The Idle Woman says:

      Thank you so much for the invitation, Sreejit! It sounds like a great project and I’m deeply flattered to be asked. However, I’m afraid I won’t be able to take it up, as current commitments at work mean that I’m burning the candle at both ends to keep this blog up to date as it is 😉 I wish you the very best of luck and I’m sure you’ll end up with some fascinating stories to share. Thanks again for thinking of me!

  2. Valeria says:

    Hello, I am a provenance researcher and I am studying the movements of Dean Elliot in Italy around 1862-64. In particular, I am interested in a trip to Bologna he might have done with his wife? It would be amazing if you could point me towards the right direction.
    Thank you so much for your time,

    • The Idle Woman says:

      Hello Valeria. I wonder whether I know what it is you’re researching… It isn’t by any chance the charming picture of the shepherdess playing a flute, attributed to Giuseppe Maria Crespi, that was at Sotheby’s in 2017? I admired it very much at the time but, ironically, only reread the catalogue about a week ago and discovered the Elliot connection. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

      The key thing to note is that the Dean was a widower in 1862, when that picture is said to have been bought in Bologna (apologies if you’re actually researching something else – if you are, I’d love to know what, as it all adds to my knowledge of the family’s aesthetic interests). He didn’t marry Frances Vickris Dickinson until 3 November 1863. However, I know that he travelled extensively in Europe from at least 1860, with his two daughters, as one of them (Emma) was sickly and was advised to live in a warmer climate for her health. In April 1861 I know that the Dean was in Florence; in February 1862 he was in Rome. He and his daughters were expected home in May 1862, according to the newspapers. Otherwise my documents haven’t thrown up anything of use to you. But I’d love to know what you’re working on (feel free to email me privately). Good luck!

  3. Voinescu Marius says:

    Dear Sarah,
    My name is Voinescu Marius a young writer from Romania looking to build up my portfolio, last year I completed my first novel “Children of Maya,” a rather niche book concerning a society of Shapeshifters in an entirely fantasy setting, loosely based on Animal Farm and Chronicles of Narnia, but with a dark twist.
    I am not here to sell you on that book because I haven’t yet published it and my co-author is working very hard to pitch it to agents as we speak.
    I would, however, like to ask if you may be interested in a more involved new project of mine called “Elusive Paradise”, the book is based on the Nordic and Roman mythos and concerns itself with an alternate history in a believable world. Here the “Remusian” Empire (After Remus- twin brother of Romulus) conquered the Mountain Clans (a confederacy of Northmen loosely inspired from Tolkien’s dwarves) and in the process of usurping said clans not only opened themselves to the threat of slave uprisings but also betrayal from within their own royal house.
    This is not a reimagining of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, although I have great respect for his work, it is more a political game with no good vs evil, more closely comparable to the writings of Margaret Ogden AKA Robin Hobb, who I am aware you greatly admire, as do I. Also like her I do not wrap my characters in cotton wool ;).
    May I email you to begin a preliminary discussion on the topic, forward you some samples and see if we can establish a long term communication?

    • The Idle Woman says:

      Thank you very much for your message, Marius, and for outlining your ambitious and interesting project. I wish you the best of luck with it, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to get involved just at the moment. As my blog is a hobby, there are times when I am unable to commit to things due to work pressures – and this is one of those times. My apologies – but perhaps you might consider approaching some book bloggers whose blogs are their full-time work? I’m sure there are many who would be delighted to plunge into the Remusian empire and who will be able to respond with the promptness and depth that your clever idea deserves. At the moment, I’m afraid I’m just stretched a bit too thin. But I shall keep my fingers crossed for you and also wish you all success with ‘Children of Maya’.

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