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Apologies, I did not expect to have not written a blog post in 2 weeks! After I attended the Jazz Age Lawn Party my life got somewhat harried and I was sick for a couple of days. Hopefully everything is copacetic right now so blog postings should resume weekly. I’ve got another installment of shopping the Pre-Raphaelites for you today and it features my very favorite nail polish company in existence: a-England!

a-England is the creation of Adina Bodana, who originally hails from Italy. Adina previously worked as a designer for fashion, ballet and opera and also worked with Gianni Versace. In her own words (taken from the company’s website):

a-England loves nail varnish and stories
dreams and being real
being human and heroic in the common daily life
to face challenges and receive rewards
to treasure the secret corner in everyone where lays the spirit of creativity
the touch of regal and beauty in everyone
self esteem and to be kind to the others

Adina is inspired by the myths and legend of England so you KNOW she’s a kindred spirit to the Pre-Raphaelites. Not only that however she has numerous polishes named after works of the Brotherhood that seem to really capture the feelings and I suppose vision of the group. There are currently 5 collections of polishes with each collection boasting anywhere from 5 to 10 polishes each. I’ve chosen to highlight a couple of these with the assistance of polish swatches from the Polishaholic. My deepest gratitude goes to Jen for allowing the use of her pictures, please go visit her site for more gorgeousness.

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Love is Enough by a-England polish. Swatch picture courtesy of the Polishaholic

Let’s start with a polish that is inspired by my newest Pre-Raphaelite obsession, William Morris. I have previously mentioned that out of all of the PRB Morris was the one I knew the least about and while I have had this polish since it first came out, I did not love it until I saw some Morris textiles in person. Love is Enough is a part of the Heavenly Quotes collection, a series which takes its inspiration from great words. This polish more than ever reminds me of the Blackthorn print, especially the way the glitter is reflected in the light. Out of all my a-England polishes (and I have er, quite a few) this is the one that nets me the most comments from strangers. The name of course is taken from the poem Love is Enough by Morris. Incidentally the weirdest bit of merchandise I own in regards to the Pre-Raphs is a t-shirt based on the “Keep Calm” design but it just says Love is Enough.
ladyofshalottaenglandThe Lady of Shalott by a-England. Swatch picture courtesy of the Polishaholic
This lovely polish is based upon a poem that was the subject of numerous paintings, not only by the PRB itself but many other great artists: the Lady of Shalott. Taken from the Gothic Beauties collection, LoS is probably my favorite blue nail polish ever. When it was first announced I was taken aback because it’s rather dark and I almost never associate the poem with dark colors even though the subject matter is fairly gruesome. After I received it though I realized the polish perfectly encapsulates the “‘I am half sick with shadows,’ she said” line from the poem. This polish is amazing in the sunlight.

My last two pictures are both taken from the same collection, inspired by Edward Burne-Jones 4 paintings that make up the Legend of Briar Rose series. Trying to get these polishes at once was HARD, it sold out fairly quickly but where the Pre-Raphaelites are concerned I do not play. This is naturally my favorite collection so far. First up is the one of the namesakes of the painting series, Rose Bower:
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Rose Bower by a-England. Swatch picture courtesy of the Polishaholic

For reference this is the painting Adina used as inspiration. I’m mesmerized by this polish. It’s a deep rose color, almost red but not quite. The shimmer in this is absolutely gorgeous, I find myself talking with my hands more whenever I wear it so I can see it often. I feel the color it most represents in the painting is the back pillow Briar Rose is laying on. Rose Bower also has the distinct pleasure of being one of the very few pink shimmer polishes that don’t make me look like as if I’ve dipped my hands in pink dye.

Finally we have Briarwood.
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Briarwood by a-England. Swatch picture courtesy of the Polishaholic

This is the painting it is based on and it perfectly captures the feeling. Briarwood is a lovely dark burgundy, almost brown with this shimmer that is absolutely bonkers. One of the things that stands out the most to me in the painting is the look on the guards’ faces as they slumber. Everyone else in the series seems to be peacefully in repose whereas the guards look like they are just plum tuckered out. The knight saving Briar Rose is also in this picture and his face just looks confused. I’ve always loved Burne-Jones’ male faces, compared to the other members of the PRB his men always seem more rugged. Briarwood also sort of echoes this feeling because it’s definitely less ethereal then the other polishes in a-England’s collections.

a-England also has polishes inspired by the Legend of St. George as well Arthurian myth. Their newest polish is “Hurt no living thing” inspired by the Christina Rossetti poem of the same name. The whole idea of nail polish inspired by art mind sound a bit weird but I urge fans of polish to give the company a shot, not only are the colors amazing but the formula is free of harmful substances and pretty darn flawless. Adina is hard at work on the next collection and I am highly anticipating it! I’m hoping at some point to get a gorgeous burgundy red based on Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s a Sea Spell or maybe something inspired by Blodeuwedd. 

That’s all for this edition of shopping the pre-Raphaelites. If you are in England you can order the polishes directly from a-England itself, if you are outside of the UK there is a list of international stockists located here. Thank you for reading!

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