Book Review: The Private World of Tasha Tudor

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After my blog post on Tasha Tudor a few weeks ago, I hunted down a copy of The Private World of Tasha Tudor. Feeling inspired by her story and the few pictures I gleaned online, I was eager to have a tangible copy of her world to have in my own home. Even so, I didn’t have the highest expectations of the book—I had seen a number of photographs of Tasha Tudor online and knew her story, so the book was something I was looking forward to having a physical reference and reminder, but didn’t expect it to contain more than what I already knew. Boy was I wrong! The Private World of Tasha Tudor is a slim book filled with photographs by Richard Brown and Tudor’s thoughts on nature and life in her own words. Brown created the book by following Tudor around for a full year and recording her words as she puttered around her house—cooking in the kitchen, breaking up fights between her infamous corgis, gardening through the seasons, and so on. With the book we get a real sense of what life was like in her Vermont cottage farm; we see the seasons shift as we watch Tudor garden, paint, and go about her life. There are examples of her illustrations peppered throughout along with stories of her childhood and hobbies that don’t get as much attention online as her garden and wardrobe. My tagline on Instagram at the moment is “IG is one page, read the whole book” and then I point to a link to my blog; this book on Tasha Tudor reminds me of that tagline--the snippets you see online and the pictures here and there don’t tell the whole story—and perhaps this book doesn’t either, but it paints a more complete picture of her day-to-day life than what you’ll find elsewhere. Even Tudor said on her own illustrations, “another appeal of my drawings is that they are done from actuality, not imagined. I know which side a cow is milked from, and what side you should mount a horse from, and how to make a haystack. It’s not made up.” She goes on to say that people who visit her feel as if they have stepped into one of her illustrations—reading this book I had a similar sense. It was like briefly being immersed into her world and walking through a year in nature barefoot beside her. While I don't agree with every philosophy she espouses (she's quite against women in trousers for one thing!), I do find her lifestyle inspiring and enjoyed digging a bit more deeply into her with this book. Even Tudor herself said, "people have a rose-colored lens when they look at me. They don't realize I'm human." While the book doesn't focus on some of the messiness of her life (it was far from perfect), I don't think it tries to hide the human side of her either. It is what it says in the title, a peek into her private world, a window into her Vermont farmhouse. If you’re equally inspired by what you’ve read about Tasha Tudor online or elsewhere previously, I do recommend hunting down a copy and letting yourself sink into the pure beauty of the photographs and words.
tasha tudor orchard-25"Working in the garden in autumn is delightful, with the clean smell of frost-bitten ferns and witch hazel in the air and no insects to bother about...The other day I heard the first Canada geese go over as I was planting. Their calls give me such a primordial feeling. And to see a flock of snow geese flying over the white birch trees by the mailbox on a fair day is a sight to take the breath away." -excerpt from The Private World of Tasha Tudortasha tudor orchard-15"I'm perfectly content. I have no other desires than to live right here with my dogs and my goats and my birds. I think I've done a good job of life, but I have no message to give anyone. If I do have a philosophy, it is best expressed by Henry David Thoreau: 'If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.' That is my credo. It is absolutely true. It is my whole life summed up." -excerpt from The Private World of Tasha Tudortasha tudor orchard-40


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