I've been having a bit of fun with portraits. We all have our own images in our heads of what our favourite characters look like and I often see a painting and think -'Oh, there's a Bingley, or he'd make a good Mr Darcy. I found these which match my thoughts on Willoughby, Marianne, and Colonel Brandon from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. I love the cover on my new book, Willoughby's Return, but I'd love to see the whole portrait - it only gives a tantalizing glimpse of what can only be a handsome man! I'm not sure about the little inset picture which I think is a lovely Marianne - is it a Greuze? I'm not sure, I shall have to investigate.I love portraits from Jane Austen's time (as you've probably guessed) and when I was browsing through one or two sites of miniature portraits I came across this one and instantly thought of the badboy we love and hate (depending on where we've got to whilst reading or watching Sense and Sensibility). Isn't he Mr Willoughby to a tee? '...his person, which was uncommonly handsome, received additional charms from his voice and expression.' He's very handsome and gentleman-like with a powdered wig - when Jane Austen wrote her first version of Sense and Sensibility in 1795/6 hair powder would still have been worn though shortly after this time a tax was imposed on it by the government thus ensuring that people stopped using it. I love his dark coat too, he probably keeps this one for best, and not for shooting in the woods around Allenham.
As soon as I'd found Willoughby I wondered if I could find Marianne, and here she is: 'Her form, though not so correct as her sister's, in having the advantage of height, was more striking; and her face was so lovely, that when, in the common cant of praise, she was called a beautiful girl, truth was less violently outraged than usually happens. Her skin was very brown, but from its transparency, her complexion was uncommonly brilliant; her features were all good; her smile was sweet and attractive; and in her eyes, which were very dark, there was a life, a spirit, an eagerness which could hardly be seen without delight. From Willoughby their expression was at first held back, by the embarrassment which the remembrance of his assistance created.' I think she's rather lovely.
Last, but by no means least is my lovely Colonel - don't you think he looks just gorgeous, his eyes are so kind. I think he would look after Marianne beautifully, and he looks as if he might have poetry in his soul. 'Colonel Brandon, the friend of Sir John, seemed no more adapted by resemblance of manner to be his friend, than Lady Middleton was to be his wife, or Mrs. Jennings to be Lady Middleton's mother. He was silent and grave. His appearance, however, was not unpleasing, in spite of his being in the opinion of Marianne and Margaret an absolute old bachelor, for he was on the wrong side of five-and-thirty; but though his face was not handsome his countenance was sensible, and his address was particularly gentlemanlike.'
To read about the identity of this army officer please click here on the 51stlightinfantry.co.uk website.
Just looking at this love triangle makes me want to read S&S all over again!