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Wednesday, October 21

Mansion Inflation in Films

Recently I read a comment online that films have greatly inflated the houses and interiors that Jane Austen's characters could afford, most particularly Mr. Darcy and Pemberley. The Chatsworth Estate with its 300 rooms, 17 staircases, and 359 doors, is held up as a model for Pemberley, but the house and surroundings would have been much too grand for a man who lived on £ 10,000 a year.


In Jane Austen and the English Landscape, Mavis Batey considers that it was important that Darcy’s home reflected his true nature. She suggests that Jane Austen thought a great deal about Pemberley and had a clear plan of the house in her mind. Perhaps, Batey notes, Cassandra may even have drawn her sister a sketch of the imagined landscape.

She suggests that Pemberley was modelled on Chatsworth, the home of the Duke of Devonshire because she placed Pemberley in the vicinity of Bakewell although, as Batey points out ‘Darcy was no Duke of Devonshire and Chatsworth could not be kept up on even £10,000 a year’. - Country Houses in Jane Austen's Novels



This article in the Victorian Web Nineteenth Century Household Staff discusses how many servants it would take to run a townhouse or a country estate, and the minimum costs involved in 1857. Also read: The Assistance of Servants: Jane Austen Centre Magazine

7 comments:

ChaChaneen said...

I don't even want to spoil the image in my mind by reading those articles. What fiction provides for my mental escapes is better than shooting down my balloon. Ha Ha

Lisa said...

**fingers in ear** La-la-la; I can't hear you! I think I've seen this home too often as Pemberley and can't imagine anything less for Darcy.

Laura's Reviews said...

I've always wondered about this. . . I especially love the "cottage" that the Dashwoods live in S&S 95. It is much more than I would have imagined!

librarypat said...

We suspend disbelief for the movies. This is FICTION. The elegance of the set helps showcase the characters and relationship. This time, I just went with it. There are other times when the obvious disparity between income and residence would distract me.

Alexa said...

A wonderful thought to consider! Our imaginations long to take flight when it comes to Pemberley. A dose of reality can do us no harm as fancy will surely prevail in the long run.

Nonna Beach said...

Who cares about reality where Darcy is involved...?

George said...

Interesting post... I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your blog. I'm sure I'd visit here more often. George from romantic films.