There is just something about the way Samantha Hahn paints women. It draws me in and doesn’t let me leave. I first discovered Samantha, a New York based illustrator, some four or five years ago. Her stunning fashion illustration and surface pattern designs kept me coming back to swoon over new material.
I loved one painting in particular so much that I ended up buying it and having it professionally framed. It was the first piece of original artwork I’d ever bought and I’ve rarely been as excited to receive any package in the post. There is a personal reason why it touched me, but I’ll save that for another day.
A year later I was so smitten with Samantha’s work that I bought two more original pieces and had them framed too.
Last year Samantha released Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines. I feel slightly sheepish that it’s taken this long for me to pick it up, especially as it’s so beautiful. Each turn of the page reveals a new illustration of one of literature’s well-known women, along with one of their most famous quotes. Art books can sometimes be disappointing. After a few viewings they sit on shelves or coffee tables and act as never opened objet d’art. But this book is different. The combination of Samantha’s work and the powerful painted words is enduring. They don’t just make me want to keep coming back to this book, they make me want to read all the literary classics that inspired it.
There isn’t a page I don’t love, but here are a few of my favourites: