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May 13, 2023
Lady of the Lake | Scotland Wedding Editorial
An artful and inspired wedding editorial set in Abbotsford, Scotland
This Scotland wedding editorial was designed by legendary fine art photographer Julie Paisley. Inspired by a poem by Walter Scott, and set in the south of Scotland, it showcases this country’s natural beauty. It is an artful and inspired photographic exploration of the mythological theme of the Lady of the Lake.
The romance, the intricate mythologies, the dark greens and the deep, dark waters of Scotland. Atmospheric, profound and poetic, this editorial was a dream to shoot.
Something about the styling and the professionals behind this shoot
Amy Luise Hatch was our exceptional stylist and in collaboration with florist Verity & Thyme found and composed all of the elements necessary to tell this story. She styled the stunning English model and actress Charlotte Verity Green with a vintage dress.
This is not the only story I captured in the Uk. As I often travel between Italy, my home, and London, I took some time in Scotland to get to know this part of the country. I photographed an elopement at Abbotsford. Then, headed back to London, I also photographed a lovely couple who just got married. Check out this romantic couple photosession in London.
Who is the Lady of the Lake
The Lady of the Lake is a name or a title used by several either fairy or fairy-like but human enchantresses in the Matter of Britain, the body of medieval literature and mythology associated with the legend of King Arthur.
Ladies of the Lake play important roles in many stories, including providing Arthur with the sword Excalibur, eliminating Merlin, raising Lancelot after the death of his father, and helping to take the dying Arthur to Avalon. Different sorceresses known as the Lady of the Lake appear concurrently as separate characters in some versions of the legend.
Walter Scott and his version of the Lady of the Lake
Walter Scott wrote the poem “The Lady of the Lake” in 1810, drawing on the romance of the legend. He told the story in an entirely different way, setting it around Loch Katrine in the Trossachs of Scotland.
Scott’s material furnished subject matter for La donna del lago, an 1819 opera by Gioachino Rossini. Franz Schubert set seven songs from Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake, including the three “Ellen songs”, although Schubert’s music to Ellen’s third song has become far more famous in its later adaptation, known as “Ave Maria”.
Why did we use Abbotsford in Scotland to tell this story?
Abbotsford is a historic country house in the Scottish Borders, near Galashiels, on the south bank of the River Tweed. Now open to the public, it was built as the residence of historical novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott between 1817 and 1825. This is an incredible place for a wedding styled shoot set in Scotland.
Abbotsford is where Scott became the biggest-selling author of his day
The rooms at Abbotsford were left just as Scott kept them after his death and are packed full of the fascinating items he collected. Amongst them is one of the best examples in the world of an 18th Century writer’s personal library. During the summers from 1804, Scott made his home at the large house of Ashestiel, on the south bank of the River Tweed, north of Selkirk. When his lease on this property expired in 1811, he bought Cartley Hole Farm. Scott renamed it “Abbotsford” after a neighbouring ford used by the monks of Melrose Abbey. Scott described the resulting building as ‘a sort of romance in Architecture’.
Here also began the fashion for Scots Baronial architecture
With his architects William Atkinson and Edward Blore Scott was a pioneer of the Scottish Baronial style of architecture. Abbotsford is festooned with turrets and stepped gabling. Through windows enriched with the insignia of heraldry the sun shone on suits of armour, trophies of the chase, a library of more than 9,000 volumes, fine furniture, and still finer pictures. Several professional architects, craftsmen, dilettante designers and friends contributed ideas and sketches.
After Scott’s death, his descendants continued living in and making changes to parts of the house, most notably Charlotte and James Hope Scott adding the chapel and the wing of the house now known as the Hope Scott Wing. The family continued to live in the wing until 2004, having kept the historic rooms of the house open to the public since early 1833 – five months after Scott’s death.
The shoot was set between the river Tweed and Abbotsford Gardens
The garden at Abbotsford is distinct in character. The layout forms three outdoor ‘rooms’ designed to offer picturesque settings for the main house. His descendants carried out some alterations to adapt the space for the changing needs of the family. But the gardens we see today are still fundamentally Scott’s work.
The garden is compact, fragrant, colorful and detailed. It is contained within high walls, with the facades of the house setting a scene which could be straight out of one of Scott’s historical romances. You can look up to Scott’s ‘Juliette’ balcony sited at his bedroom window. Or see across to a ‘Rapunzel’ tower which overlooks the river. You can also explore the gothic staircase leading to the meadow beyond.
Colorful flowers and a vegetable garden with a view out of a fairytale
Find Scott’s greenhouse based on a medieval jousting tent, and spot the heritage vegetables and fruit growing in the kitchen garden. Sit back and enjoy the heady scents of the herbaceous borders, or take a stroll to the river.
The garden was designed by Sir Walter Scott with advice from artists, architects and friends. It is a rare surviving example of a Regency garden layout. It is completely different from the English Landscape Garden. Abbotsford’s garden aims to provide a harmonious transition between the luxury of the interiors of the house with the wild of nature in the wider estate.