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Showing posts from May, 2009

Print Shops and Admiral Croft in Bath

Print shops were very popular in Jane Austen's England. In particular, the political cartoonists of the day like James Gillray (1757-1815) and Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) provided entertainment for the masses who crowded round the print shop windows to see their latest pictures. Here is a little nugget of Jane Austen's treasure for your delight. Admiral Croft's character is painted so beautifully in a few sentences. To accompany it is a Brock illustration and a photo of the shop in Bath which they used for the print shop in the 1996 adaptation which has to be my favourite of all adaptations, I think. Anne was too much engaged with Lady Russell to be often walking herself; but it so happened that one morning, about a week or ten days after the Crofts' arrival, it suited her best to leave her friend, or her friend's carriage, in the lower part of the town, and return alone to Camden Place; and in walking up Milsom Street she had the good fortune to meet with the Adm

Editing with Lizzy and Darcy

I'm at the editing stage of my latest work in progress. Surely this has to be the most trying and difficult part of writing a book. It's when I feel I'm completely on my own - and I feel a little bit lonely. I start to read it through, feel quite pleased with how it's all going, and then the doubts start to creep in. That part doesn't feel quite right - I remember when I was writing it that I thought I'd written something memorable, but no, it's reading like a pile of pants as my youngest might say. OK, I think that's better - then the next chapter doesn't seem to work. Lizzy, would you really have said that? And Darcy, have I painted you a little too grave? Time for a coffee, I think, and didn't I promise to phone someone? I waste an hour or two with important jobs that I convince myself couldn't possibly be done at any other time before I sit down to work again. I'm in a ruthless mood! I start slashing away cutting out large chunks of t

Haddon Hall Gardens

The gardens at Haddon are lovely - I really enjoyed the views from the terraces - the formal gardens contrasting with the wildness of the landscape beyond. I have seen photos of the Hall in summer - I shall definitely have to visit again to see the riot of roses clambering over stone walls and framing windows - even in April the garden was very pretty. I hope you enjoy the photos!

A Review for Lydia Bennet's Story from JASNA

Book Review from the Jane Austen Society of North America - Kelly M. McDonald Lydia Bennet's Story was reviewed alongside Carrie Bebris' novel, The Matters at Mansfield so I've extracted the relevant parts of the review which concern my book. A good opening line can instantly vitalize a novel...Jane Odiwe sets her scene exceedingly well: "The true misfortune, which besets any young lady destined for fortune and favour, is to find that she has been born into an unsuitable family." The two books share many characteristics: they grab the reader from the beginning; sustain momentum; and present work of talented authors. They likewise extract from Austen two bad boys everyone loves to hate,...and pivot their denouements upon ill-advised marriages, for ultimately these men stray from the fold. Blending narrative with diary extracts, Jane Odiwe presents Lydia in all her giddy, officer-hungry glory. Odiwe's subtle and pointed conveyance of a character's manners or

News of a new blog, Lydia Bennet's Story, and a Jane Austen inspired Exhibition

News of a new blog - Austen Endeavours - I am enjoying this blog from Aimee Fry and thought you might too! Aimee indulges her love of all things Austen and Regency along with her quest to become a writer! Thanks to Jenny for a mention of Lydia Bennet's Story from Wondrous Reads which is a really interesting and entertaining teen book blog. There'll be a review from Jenny coming soon! Finally from ABC news in Australia: The National Gallery of Victoria is preparing to open an exhibition charting the fashion changes during Jane Austen's lifetime (1775-1817). Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen features over 70 works and will include fashion, prints and drawings, decorative arts and paintings, with a focus on English women's dress from the early 19th century. Curator Roger Leong says fashion played an important role in Jane Austen's novels. "Austen's witty and perceptive comments about fashion mirrored the complex relationships within English socie

Jane Austen, Bath and Birthdays in May

Forgive me for being quiet lately, but we've had two birthdays in this house this week. Two of my children were born within a day of one another - three years apart - so it's always very hectic, a bit crazy, but very enjoyable! It's my nephew's birthday on the 17th also, so we shall be going to Brighton at the weekend to say Happy Birthday! We've been celebrating here and it made me wonder what Jane Austen might have been up to in May which has to be one of my favourite months of the year. It seems she was off to Bath at the start of the summer season. The Edward and Elizabeth she mentions are her brother and his wife. The letter is cheerful and she sounds as if she is looking forward to her stay in the city. I was reminded of Catherine in Northanger Abbey when Jane mentions dreading solitude, but her noting of a long list of arrivals means that she won't be sitting at tea like Catherine and Mrs Allen without company. 13, Queen's Square, Friday, May 17, 1799

The Dining Room at Haddon, Pride and Prejudice 2005

The dining room was used for a scene at the inn at Lambton in the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It is quite a small room which would have been used by the family for their private quarters. The plaster ceiling dates from the early 1500s and is decorated with a Tudor rose and Talbot dog in recognition of Sir Henry Vernon's marriage to Anne Talbot. In the window recess are carved figures in the oak panelling - these are thought to be Queen Elizabeth of York and her husband King Henry V11. I loved the windows at Haddon with their beautiful examples of early stained glass. Here is a photo of the ceiling showing the Talbot dog device.

Pride and Prejudice, 2005, Haddon Hall Chapel

The chapel at Haddon Hall was used in the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. It's a marvellous example of an early chapel with separate seating for the gentry, wall frescoes, and 15th century painted glass. The south aisle dates from the 12th century and was widened during the 15th century when the north aisle was added. The atmosphere in such a place is incredible, you can almost hear the walls breathing and catch the scent of an Elizabethan lavender pomander. The air reverberates with a sense of the past and images of ladies in stiff brocade with pointed bodices and narrow frills about their necks loom before you on herb strewn flagstones vanishing into the shadows as quickly as they appear. It is still the parish church of Nether Haddon which is one of the smallest parishes in the country. The high-sided oak pews are probably date from the 15th century and were for the family and their guests. Covering the walls are some beaut

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, a contender for Pemberley?

As they walked across the lawn towards the river, Elizabeth turned back to look again; her uncle and aunt stopped also: and while the former was conjecturing as to the date of the building, the owner of it himself suddenly came forward from the road which led behind it to the stables. They were within twenty yards of each other, and so abrupt was his appearance that it was impossible to avoid his sight. Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of each were overspread with the deepest blush. He absolutely started, and for a moment seemed immoveable from surprise; but shortly recovering himself, advanced towards the party, and spoke to Elizabeth, if not in terms of perfect composure, at least of perfect civility. She had instinctively turned away; but, stopping on his approach, received his compliments with an embarrassment impossible to be overcome. Had his first appearance, or his resemblance to the picture they had just been examining, been insufficient to assure the other two th