A Year in Provence

A Year in Provence - illustrations by Paul Hogarth

I love how Paul Hogarth paints everyday French people!

          Rumbly tumbly old buildings, local architecture, landscapes and townscapes are
                     captured in quick pencil studies and light washes of watercolour.   

A few weeks ago I posted about a series of old Penguin books I have, which are all illustrated by Paul Hogarth.  Writing the post reminded me of another book I have, A Year in Provence, which again feature illustrations by Paul Hogarth.  It was a lovely excuse to rummage through my bookshelves and leaf through this partially forgotten about book.

'When Peter Mayle fled grey London for Provencial sunshine and bought an ancient farmhouse in the Luberon mountains, pastoral dreams were disrupted by the year's round of icy mistrals, demanding visitors, ruinous floods and absentee builders.  He soon realised that the only thing to be relied on was lunch, with military regularity at midday'.

All painted in watercolour, Paul Hogarth's illustrations perfectly capture the changing seasons and charm of life in Provence.  I'm really drawn to his expressive painterly qualities, and the quick sketches of landscape, people and historic buildings.  They are simply executed in pencil with washes of watercolour and minimum detail, but they are so lively and almost whimsical in feel.

The book is punctuated with these fabulous snippits of visual life in Provence - you hardly need to read the book, but just look at the illustrations to get a sense of the story.  I'm always in awe of people who can paint with such minimal fuss and detail, and I think this is a classic example of less is more.


  1. I must find this book! I am always delighted by simple watercolours, but I especially like how these show every day life. It put a smile on my face!

    1. It's a lovely book Adriene - is it too late to put on your xmas wish list?!