Annie Scampton

By Alison February 11, 2008 11 Comments 3 Min Read




Amongst the many, many Victorian scrapbooks that turn up on Ebay, there is occasionally literary and aesthetic treasure. And none more so than Annie Scampton’s absolutely gorgeous ode to her lovely life: a scrapbook I bid on in the early stages but ultimately lost to a high bid worthy of its charm.

What makes Annies scrumptious scrapbook so special is not just the sheer prettiness of its pages, nor the gorgeous fountain penned calligraphy, but that each page contains not just notes and quotes from Annie herself, but newspaper jokes, resplendent with the innocence of the era (Says the conceited young student proudly: "I say, look there! That shoemakers boy is putting his tongue out at me!"  Friend: "Why you seem quite pleased!" Student: "Of course, he takes me for a doctor already!") and more tellingly, scaps, notes, autographs and letters, glued carefully into the pages, from friends and relations, that reveal Annie to be the wonderful woman we would have her be from this tiny peek into her 1889 life…

I worry sometimes that Typepad will go bust. That I will wake up one morning, flick on my computer and discover that BrocanteHome, the past four years and every self indulgent little whim of mine will have been swallowed up and hurtled into internet heaven. That there is no way of securing my site in it’s entirety, at least in it’s current form and that we give so much daily regardless, never certain that we are committing those words, this little bit of who we are, to infinity. Because 100 years from now, there won’t be a lucky ebay bidder holding our dreams in her hands. Nobody looking back on the life of a stranger and wondering who she was, what became of her, what she did with that abundance of spirit… 

And perhaps this is a good thing. BrocanteHome was never intended to be a diary and lately, through the circumstances of running in and out of libraries, without the intimacy of the relationship between me and my personal laptop, I feel it is going that way: a rushed outpouring of the dailiness of my life, not the scrapbook of dreams I always meant it to be. Not the place of scrumptious inspiration it used to be and for that I apologise. I get so very caught up in myself sometimes…

At night, I still sit, glue in hand, journal on knee. While this yellow covered journal, an illustrated memoir of who I am and who I want to be, does not have the focused beauty of Annie Scamptons scrapbook, and has  never been offered out for public consumption, it is in it’s less self conscious innocence a better representation of who I really am. Uncensored by the magnitude of living up to the me I have somehow created here, the voice I expect to find on BrocanteHome, it is instead a playful representation of a life less ordinary, and one way or another I want to find a way to incorporate the essence of my illustrated self into BrocanteHome…   

I don’t have to wait for more than a century to be found. We, none of us who commit daily to this blogging life do, we are here, now. And we owe it to ourselves to create online, scraps of who we truly are, because writing, even autobiographical writing is a funny thing: at some point we start to believe more in character than in truth.


  1. judi says:

    As always both entertaining and inspiring.

  2. judi says:

    As always both entertaining and inspiring.

  3. Karla says:

    What a lovely scrapbook. You know there is a site where you can turn your blog into a printed book. I don’t know the site name but perhaps someone else will know – I’m sure you could search it.
    And of course, as we keep reminding you, you could always write a book and publish it – I’d buy a copy for sure, perhaps more to give to friends!

  4. Buffy says:

    Yes you should consider the blog to book option 🙂

  5. Anita says:

    Oh, Allison, that last line just got me… I'm not sure if you meant it this way or not, but it was a reminder to me that we are who we say we are… Our words, whether spoken or written, shape us… Negative words create a negative person… We create the person we want to be, no matter the circumstances in our lives… We can use our words to become who we want to be, no matter who we are now! I've needed that reminded in my writing for months… Thank you so much for being the constant inspiration that you are!

  6. Thyra says:

    Interesting post – well done, I look forward to the scrapbook on line. All the best.

  7. Thyra says:

    Interesting post – well done, I look forward to the scrapbook on line. All the best.

  8. Amy says:

    yes a very pretty scrapbook and your post has given me some food for thought. There is only one of us, we’re unique, our thoughts are our own and we can learn from them and from each other.

  9. Jenny says:

    De-Lurking to direct you to You can turn your blog into a book… hard or soft cover. You can choose to have photos and other images; basically, you design your own book and they publish it for you. You can even sell them on their website. From what I’ve heard, it’s reasonably priced.

  10. Joanne says:

    Alison, I know you feel as though you've lost the original intention behind Brocante, but I feel that your diary-type entries still embody that spirit. I was telling my aunt (who's young enough to be my sister, so we're very close) the other day that I love coming to your website, because you always remind me that I can have gorgeousness in my life, even when life ain't great. Focusing on the little everyday pleasures that you let yourself have reminds me that I can do that too. And my life will be richer for it. So please write whatever comes to you, whether it be advice or just musings on your life. It will still work just as it's meant to… Thank you for being you, even if you feel it's sometimes a snippet that doesn't reflect your complexity.

  11. Theresa Cox says:

    the junction of your personality and your vision is what makes your blog go great! you are fabulous.

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