“If life has a base that it stands upon, if it is a bowl that one fills and fills and fills — then my bowl without a doubt stands upon this memory. It is of lying half asleep, half awake, in bed in the nursery at St Ives. It is of hearing the waves breaking, one, two, one, two, and sending a splash of water over the beach […] It is of lying and hearing this splash and seeing this light, and feeling, it is almost impossible that I should be here; of feeling the purest ecstasy I can conceive.” – Virginia Woolf
The Great Western Railway stretched far outside London during Victorian England. It stretched westwards to St. Ives. It transformed this small seaside town into a revitalising leisure ground for exhausted Londoners.
Virginia Woolf spent happy childhood summers at St. Ives. Her house overlooked Godrevy Lighthouse. She heard the waves break on the shore from her bedroom window. Memories of these watery surroundings came to inspire novels like The Waves and To the Lighthouse. ‘To have our own house; our own garden; to have the Bay; the sea; […] to dig in the sand; to go sailing in a fishing boat; […] I could fill pages remembering one thing after another. All together made the summer at St. Ives the best beginning to life conceivable’.
The town continued to inspire women writers and artists after Woolf. Barbara Hepworth established her studio and created iconic sculptures at St. Ives. Around the corner, Daphne du Maurier hid herself away to write her mysterious, romantic novels. Women writers and artists helped turn St. Ives into a cultural capital that rivaled London in its outpour of progressive art.
The St. Ives Parasol Earrings celebrate this special seaside town. These earrings recall Woolf’s immortalised sound of the sea, crisp smell of salt, feel of sand, and heat of the sun. The earrings flee busy city life and transport you to summertime at St. Ives.