Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy Takes a Dip in the Serpentine

From The Independent:



Colin Firth’s memorable wet shirt scene in Pride and Prejudice has been recreated thanks to a giant statue of Mr Darcy which has been built in The Serpentine.

Click here or on ‘view gallery’ for more photos of Colin Firth’s giant Mr Darcy

The fibreglass sculpture, which closely resembles Firth, stretches 12ft out of the water at London’s Hyde Park. The image of Firth emerging dripping wet from the lake at Lyme Park, Cheshire featured in the 1995 BBC adaption of the Jane Austen novel. The scene, which caused a stir at the time, recently topped a viewers’ poll of the most memorable TV moments ever.

The model of Darcy took a team of three sculptors in excess of two months to design, construct and paint. Lead sculptor Toby Crowther said: “The challenge for us was capturing the spirit of Darcy as handsome and noble but also aloof and proud. The Mr Darcy sculpture is a real mix of the many portrayals of Jane Austen’s most famous hero.” The sculpture will tour a number of locations before being installed in Lyme Park, where it will remain until February.

Adrian Wills, general manager of Drama, said: “Jane Austen spent a lot of time walking in Hyde Park and along the banks of the Serpentine, so we would like to think she would have approved of our new dashing Darcy.”

The statue has been built to celebrate today’s launch of new UKTV channel Drama, a free-to-air station on Sky and Freeview.


[image from BBC News]

And the Real Thing:


though I always liked this one better:


The Places of Pride and Prejudice: Where, Oh Where, Did Wickham and Lydia Marry? Or the Dilemma of the Two St Clements

“La! You are so strange! But I must tell you how it went off. We were married, you know, at St. Clement’s, because Wickham’s lodgings were in that parish. And it was settled that we should all be there by eleven o’clock. My uncle and aunt and I were to go together; and the others were to meet us at the church. Well, Monday morning came, and I was in such a fuss! I was so afraid, you know, that something would happen to put it off, and then I should have gone quite distracted. And there was my aunt, all the time I was dressing, preaching and talking away just as if she was reading a sermon. However, I did not hear above one word in ten, for I was thinking, you may suppose, of my dear Wickham. I longed to know whether he would be married in his blue coat.

“Well, and so we breakfasted at ten as usual; I thought it would never be over; for, by the bye, you are to understand, that my uncle and aunt were horrid unpleasant all the time I was with them. If you’ll believe me, I did not once put my foot out of doors, though I was there a fortnight. Not one party, or scheme, or any thing. To be sure London was rather thin, but, however, the Little Theatre was open. Well, and so just as the carriage came to the door, my uncle was called away upon business to that horrid man Mr. Stone. And then, you know, when once they get together, there is no end of it. Well, I was so frightened I did not know what to do, for my uncle was to give me away; and if we were beyond the hour, we could not be married all day. But, luckily, he came back again in ten minutes time, and then we all set out. However, I recollected afterwards that if he had been prevented going, the wedding need not be put off, for Mr. Darcy might have done as well.”

“Mr. Darcy!” repeated Elizabeth, in utter amazement.

Pride and Prejudice, v. III, ch. IX

St Clement Danes -Strand 1 London Views

St Clement Danes – Strand (London Views)

Jane Austen often gives clues to the whereabouts of her locations, especially in her London passages – we know she knew London well and placed her characters in just the right spot to tell her readers who they were by where they lived.  We famously have a few “____shire”s scattered about regarding the militia, for an element of secrecy one might assume? But in Pride and Prejudice there are two locations that she specifies that bring only confusion, and both involve Wickham and Lydia: St. Clement, where they were married, and Edward Street, home to Mrs. Younge, Georgiana’s former governess and friend and devious helper to Wickham. Today I will deal with the former…

When Lydia remarks that “We were married, you know, at St. Clement’s, because Wickham’s lodgings were in that parish.” – she gives a clue that perhaps contemporary readers would not have found confusing, but we are left with not being completely sure which St. Clements she is referring to: St Clement Danes in the Strand, or St. Clement Eastcheap. Neither is mentioned in her extant letters.

Pat Rogers notes in her 2006 Cambridge edition of Pride and Prejudice that the fairly large parish of St. Clement Danes had a population of 12,000 in 1801 and “contained areas of cheap lodgings and some raffish districts, notably a part of Drury Lane” (531-32). Most who have written on this would agree (see Kaplan and Fullerton cites below), largely because the other St. Clement (Eastcheap), on St. Clement’s Lane between Lombard Street and Great Eastcheap, would have been too close to the Gardiner’s who lived on Gracechurch Street [see maps for location of both churches]. Wickham would not have placed himself in such a smaller parish, with a population of 350 in 1801 (Rogers, 531), and so close to those who might find him out. Another reason that Rogers selects this as the best option is that in order to marry in this parish, one of the parties had to have residence there for fifteen days (Rogers, 532). Laurie Kaplan adds that “the length of time required for residency functions perfectly for the elopement plot of the novel, for tension increases the longer Lydia and Wickham remain unmarried” (Kaplan, 7). But we know Wickham had no mind to marry Lydia … .another story entirely… (the text is very clear on this: Mrs. Gardiner relates to Elizabeth: “…it only remained, he [Darcy] thought, to secure and expedite a marriage, which in his very first conversation with Wickham, he easily learnt, had never been his design.” (357).

But perhaps in the end, we should just abide by Susannah Fullerton, where in her Celebrating Pride and Prejudice, she blames Lydia for the whole confusing mess: “How typical of Lydia to be inexact in her information!” (p. 94-95)


London map - londonlives

Map of City boundaries: The City of London is indicated in dark blue, Westminster in purple, Middlesex in brown, and Southwark in green.  The base map is John Rocque’s, London, Westminster and Southwark, 1746. © Motco 2001 from LondonLives.org

Horwood panel 14

St Clement Danes is located at the heart of London, placed on an island in the middle of the Strand,
opposite the Royal Courts of Justice, the Temple and Fleet Street – on the map above circled in purple.
(Click on map and zoom in; map courtesy of Sue Forgue at Regency Encyclopedia, from the Guildhall Library, London)

St. Clement Danes: The first church on the site was founded by Danes in the 9th century, and named after St. Clement, patron saint of mariners. It has been rebuilt by William the Conqueror, later again in the Middle Ages, and rebuilt yet again in 1680-82 by Christopher Wren, a steeple added in 1719-20.  It was gutted during the blitz, only the walls and tower left standing, and since reconstruction has served as the central church for the Royal Air Force.

St Clement Danes - 1753

An early street view of the Strand and St Clement Danes Church, 1753. On the right is the original entrance to the building.
cTrustees of the British Museum; image from Christina Parolin, Radical Spaces (ANU, 2010).

St Clement Danes today: when in London in May 2011 I visited the Church for the first time, finding it a quite lovely and peacful setting on its little island in the midst of bustling London – here are a few shots, alas! not that well focused and no exterior shots of the facade, so I include one from Geograph.org.uk, with thanks.

St Clement Danes

St Clement Danes

St Clement Danes, interior

St Clement Danes, interior

St Clement Danes ceiling

St Clement Danes ceiling

St Clement Danes

flag in St Clement Danes

St Clement Danes - geographSt Clement Danes exterior – cPhilip Halling, Geograph.org.uk

[A movie aside: You will notice that there are no entrance steps, as there are no steps for St Clements Eastcheap – if you recall from the 1995 movie, Lydia is running up the steps to the church, so neither of these sites were used in the movie [and I find no picture of this scene – if anyone knows where that exterior shot was filmed, please let me know!]

St Clement Eastcheap - Harrison engraving 1777 - wikipedia

Facade St Clement Eastcheap

c.1760, from Walter Harrison’s History of London (1777) – wikipedia


St. Clement Eastcheap:  located on St. Clement’s Lane between Lombard Street and Great Eastcheap [today on Clement’s Lane, off King William Street] and close to London Bridge and the River Thames – see here on the Horwood panel 15:

Horwood panel 15

The purple marks Gracechurch Street, home ot the Gardiners, and ends at the botton at Great Eastcheap,
go one block to the left to find St. Clement’s Lane, the Church is on the right.
(Click on map and zoom in; map courtesy of Sue Forgue at Regency Encyclopedia, from the Guildhall Library, London)

Though we are quite sure that this is not where Austen had Lydia and Wickham marrying, it is still worth noting – perhaps we are wrong in our assumptions after all, and Wickham was just “hiding in plain sight”?  This St. Clement has possible Roman origins; it was destroyed in 1666 in the Great Fire of London, and rebuilt in the 1680s and also designed by Wren.  And one should note that “cheap” is an old Saxon word meaning “market” and does not mean “cheap” as we associate it today.  Here are a few images:

St Clement Eastcheap - London Views

St Clement Eastcheap – London Views

St Clement Eastcheap today - wikipedia

St Clement Eastcheap today – wikipedia

There are a number of fine images of St. Clement Eastcheap on flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/costi-londra/sets/72157621338588177/


The St Clement argument does not just revolve around Jane Austen [and indeed may she just been throwing out a very sly reference to her sailor brothers? – just a thought, St. Clement being the patron saint of sailors] … The Churches apparently have a long-standing “quibble” over which is the St. Clement referred to in the nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons” – here is the full rhyme: [the long version from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oranges_and_Lemons ].  It is the bells of St. Clement Danes that ring out the tune of the rhyme three times a day.

Bouvier - oranges lemons - wp

 “Oranges And Lemons”, Nicholl Bouvier Games 1874, “The Pictorial World” by Agnes Rose Bouvier (1842 – 1892) – wikipedia

Gay go up and gay go down, To ring the bells of London town.

Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clements.

Bull’s eyes and targets, Say the bells of St. Margret’s.

Brickbats and tiles, Say the bells of St. Giles’.

Halfpence and farthings,  Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

Pancakes and fritters, Say the bells of St. Peter’s.

Two sticks and an apple, Say the bells of Whitechapel.

Pokers and tongs, Say the bells of St. John’s.

Kettles and pans, Say the bells of St. Ann’s.

Old Father Baldpate, Say the slow bells of Aldgate.

You owe me ten shillings, Say the bells of St. Helen’s.

When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.

Pray when will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

Chip chop chip chop, The last man’s dead!


You can hear more of the history of the rhyme here on youtube; and you can listen to the rhyme here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9hzYkh-lp0


And finally, to bring this back to Jane Austen, where all begins and ends after all, there is behind the St Clement Danes church a statue, by Percy Hetherington Fitzgerald and erected in 1910, of all people, Jane Austen’s very own Dear Dr. Johnson.  I think she would be pleased, don’t you?

Samuel Johnson - St Clement Danes

Samuel Johnson – St Clement Danes

Further reading:

1. Laurie Kaplan. “London as Text: Teaching Jane Austen’s “London” Novels In Situ.” Persuasions On-Line 32.1 (2011).

2. Pat Rogers, ed. Pride and Prejudice: The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge UP, 2006. Google link: http://books.google.com/books?id=yxIHAemJKM4C&lpg=PA531&ots=DK3PxqM79J&dq=st.%20clements%20pride%20and%20prejudice&pg=PA531#v=onepage&q=st.%20clements&f=false

3. Susannah Fullerton.  Celebrating Pride and Prejudice (Voyageur Press, 2013).

4. Pemberley.com has maps and commentary: http://www.pemberley.com/images/landt/maps/pp/StClements.html

5. Patrick Wilson in his Where’s Where in Jane Austen … and What Happens There, (JASA), says it is Danes church in Strand: see JASNA.org http://www.jasna.org/info/maps-london-key.html

6. At Austen.com: http://www.austen-beginners.com/index.shtml

7. Google Maps of Jane Austen places in the novels: this site notes that the St. Clements in is Eastcheap – you can zoom in here in the London area and choose locations.

8. St. Clement Danes website:  http://www.raf.mod.uk/stclementdanes/

9. English Heritage: http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle.aspx?uid=1237099

10. London Lives: http://www.londonlives.org/static/StClementDane.jsp

11. Geograph interior image [better than mine!]: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1017806

12. St. Clement Danes at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Clement_Danes

13. St. Clement Eastcheap at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Clement_Eastcheap

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen, Elizabeth Spencer, and Canonbury Tower ~ Guest post by Ron Dunning

Enquiring Readers: Last week I had posted a comment about Macbeth during the hoopla about Richard III; Ron Dunning [of the Jane Austen Family Tree fame] and I have been in communication since about how everything it seems comes back to Jane Austen, further evidenced by a recent tour he took of Canonbury Tower…. read on for yet another connection to Jane Austen!


Canonbury on the map: Londontown.com

Canonbury on the map: Londontown.com

Our esteemed [blush…] blogiste and editrix remarked a few days ago, in reference to the fact that Macbeth’s victim Duncan I was an ancestor of Jane Austen, that “ALL in life that one thinks or does comes back to Jane Austen”.  It’s true – it does.  Earlier in the week, I went on a guided tour of Canonbury Tower, in the Islington area of London, with my accomplice in exploration, Catherine Delors. [Ed. note: Catherine is the much moreso esteemed historical novelist who blogs at Versailles and More].  For all we knew, it would be no more than a fascinating view of one of London’s few remaining precious Tudor residences, little suspecting that there would turn out to be an Austen connection.

Canonbury_Tower wp

Canonbury Tower – wikipedia

Canonbury was a Saxon manor, and after 1066 was awarded by William the Conqueror to the de Berners family.  It was only a brief horse ride from the centre of London, and even walkable, so it became the residence of various abbots and other dignitaries.  In the late 1500’s the manor was owned by Sir John Spencer (d. 1610), a very wealthy merchant and sometime Lord Mayor of London – who had a pretty young daughter, Elizabeth.More to the point, she was worth £40,000 on her marriage – some five million pounds today.  Her father had promised her to several men, in consideration of the usual dynastic criteria, but she met and fell in love with the spendthrift William Compton, Lord Compton (and later to become Earl of Northampton, d. 1630).  John Spencer was vehemently opposed to this match, not least because William owed him money.  She managed somehow to elope with William, one version of the story claiming that he disguised himself as a baker’s boy and smuggled Elizabeth out of the house in a blanket.

John Spencer refused to be reconciled to this marriage, until Queen Elizabeth intervened.  When he and his wife died intestate (not without suspicions of subterfuge on that score), William and Elizabeth inherited the entire estate, then valued at between £300,000 and £800,000.  William immediately spent over £70,000 on horses and gambling, and it appears that Elizabeth had no qualms about spending money, either.


Elizabeth Spencer: effigy on her parents’ tomb in St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.
[Image: “A Who’s Who of Tudor Women” – a fabulous site!]

So far, I haven’t told you what the Austen connection was.  I knew that William and Elizabeth were in my Austen database but with 13,500 people in it, I couldn’t remember their connection.  Checking when I got home I realized that they were ancestors of Adela Portal, the wife of Edward Knight (the younger), Jane’s nephew.  Among others, the current doyenne of the Austen family, Diana Shervington, is a descendant of that line.

There is a further literary connection, in that William and Elizabeth were also the ancestors of Vita Sackville-West.  The time has long since passed when I was surprised that almost anyone that you could name was connected with the Austens, but the particular individuals and their stories continue to fascinate!

Ron Dunning outside Canonbury Tower

Ron Dunning outside Canonbury Tower

[image: c2013, Catherine Delors]

Catherine Delors

Catherine Delors

Wish I had been there with the two of you! Thank you Ron for your continued insights on all things in the Austen family!


Further reading: the problem with these sort of postings is that one can spend an inordinate amount of time researching all these new connections! – here are a few places to start, Elizabeth Spencer having quite the interesting story!

Canonbury-tower - Hone

Interesting bits:

  • Thomas Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal, lived in Canonbury Tower from 1533. His residency ended abruptly in 1540 when he was beheaded by King Henry VIII. Cromwell has been the subject of Hilary Mantel’s critically-acclaimed Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.
  •  Sir Francis Bacon, King James I’s Lord Chancellor, lived in Canonbury Tower, 1616-1626.
  • Charles Dickens set one of his Christmas stories in Canonbury Tower, titled The Lamplighter: you can read it here.

Compton room-canonbury

Chimney-piece and panelling in the Compton Oak Room, late 16th-century. Image: ‘Plate 102: Islington: Canonbury Tower’,
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London,
Volume 2: West London (1925), pp. 102. British History Online.

And finally, and again from the William Hone (1780-1842) archive:

Those who have been before and not lately, will view “improvement” rapidly devastating the forms of nature around this once delightful spot; others who have not visited it at all may be amazed at the extensive prospects; and none who see the “goings on” and “ponder well,” will be able to foretell whether Mr. Symes [the resident when Hone visited] or the tower will enjoy benefit of survivorship.

To Canonbury Tower

As some old, stout, and lonely holyhock,
Within a desolate neglected garden,
Doth long survive beneath the gradual choke
Of weeds, that come and work the general spoil;
So, Canonbury, thou dost stand awhile:
Yet fall at last thou must; for thy rich warden
Is fast “improving;” all thy pleasant fields
Have fled, and brick-kilns, bricks, and houses rise
At his command; the air no longer yields
A fragrance—scarcely health; the very skies
Grow dim and townlike; a cold, creeping gloom
Steals into thee, and saddens every room:
And so realities come unto me,
Clouding the chambers of my mind,
and making me—like thee.

And so here we are almost 200 years later, still visiting Canonbury Tower!

Ron at window

[Image: c2013, Catherine Delors]

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

Touring with Jane Austen ~ Marble Hill House, Twickenham, and Richmond

Enquiring Minds: Tony Grant of London Calling, and a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World, had written a post for me on Marble Hill House in Twickenham – but alas! I have been so delayed in getting this on the blog that we agreed he should post it himself and I will link to it… so herewith the tale of Marble Hill House, home to Henrietta Howard, mistress of George II. This all started with a conversation over Joshua Reynolds’s house, which led to Richmond Hill, and then on to Henrietta Howard and Marble Hill House, and then Pope and Swift, Horace Walpole, John Gay and the Scriblerus Club, a bit on Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott and on to Dickens and Virginia and Leonard Woolf, and of course Jane Austen gets her required mention – you get the idea – this is cram-packed with literary tourism and as always, Tony’s fine photographs…


The Thames from Richmond Hill

The Thames from Richmond Hill

The River Thames wends its tortuous way across England from Thames Head in Gloucestershire until it reaches the southernmost part of the North Sea. Its journey stretches for 215 miles. Finally the wide Thames Estuary which pours its contents into The North Sea is bordered on the north bank by the Essex coast and Southend on Sea and at its southern bank by the Kent coast, Sheerness and the entrance to the Medway.

Along its course The Thames passes though some beautiful English countryside before it enters the Greater London area passing by Sunbury and on to Hampton, then Hampton Court, Kingston upon Thames, Twickenham and Richmond. At last it reaches the centre of London with its iconic landmarks. The Thames, from London along its whole length, has a long history of Iron Age villages, Roman habitation, Saxon towns, and mediaeval settlements, Tudor Palaces and Georgian and Victorian Villas.  London itself began as a Roman settlement for trade, built at the nearest bridging point to the coast   where they had their port called Ritupiae (Richborough). They wanted to penetrate the hinterland north of the Thames. Indeed the names Thames which was Celtic in origin but had its Roman equivalent (Tamesas recorded in Latin as Tamesis)  and London (Londinium) come to us from Roman times.

Over the centuries the Thames outside of London has provided a beautiful Arcadian retreat for the wealthy, the famous, the aristocracy and the monarchy away from the stench and diseases prevalent in many periods of London’s history. They built palaces and grand houses and villas with adjoining estates and landscaped parks to relax and take their leisure in. Marble Hill House is a Palladian Villa built between 1724 and 1729, very close to Richmond upon Thames but on the northern bank of the Thames near Twickenham. It was built for George II’s mistress, Henrietta Howard….

Henrietta Howard

Henrietta Howard

 Continue reading…

Thank you Tony for this sun-drenched tour through London!

For more on Marble Hill House, etc,  you can look here:

Marble Hill House

Marble Hill House

…and not to be confused with our very own MARBLE HOUSE, the William Vanderbilt’s summer “cottage” in Newport, Rhode Island:

Marble House, Newport, RI

Marble House, Newport, RI

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

A Little History of Bedford Square: Todd Longstaffe-Gowan on the ‘superior’ central London square

A Little History of Bedford Square: Todd Longstaffe-Gowan on the ‘superior’ central London square.

Charles Dickens at 200 ! ~ February 7, 2012

Well, just in time! – Wishing Mr. Dickens a very Happy Birthday! – as his 200th is celebrated all the world over…

Here are several of the events going on, already posted in my Penny Post Weekly Review, and a few more besides:

First you must begin with the Dickens 2012 website.  

And then these various exhibits, etc…

*Dickens in pictures at the Telegraph :

*A tour of Dickens birthplace:

*“Celebrating Mr. Dickens” a symposium at the University of Delaware, February 18, 2012: http://www.udconnection.com/saturdaysymposium

*“Dickens in Lowell”: an exhibit [opens March 30, 2012] ,and symposium celebrating Dickens’s historic visit to Lowell, Massachusetts in 1842 – http://www.uml.edu/conferences/dickens-in-lowell/

*The Yale Center for British Art begins its 2012 film tribute to Dickens with the first film in the series “Dickens’London”, a 1924 12-minute silent film:


– followed by The Pickwick Papers, from 1952: http://calendar.yale.edu/cal/ycba/week/20120123/All/CAL-2c9cb3cc-333ca412-0134-477bda0c-00000991bedework@yale.edu/

*The DeGoyler Library at Southern Methodist University is hosting a Dickens exhibit:

Charles Dickens: The First Two Hundred Years. An Exhibition from the Stephen Weeks Collection. January 19-May 12, 2012 – a catalogue is available for purchase: http://smu.edu/cul/degolyer/exhibits.htm

* A bookseller’s list of some of his works that they have for sale [Tavistock Books]: 

* This one is very exciting as it combines my love of Dickens and my love of London and makes full use of my iphone capabilities: Dickens Dark London from The Museum of London:

Dickens' Dark London


*The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Dickens exhibit:  http://libwww.freel library.org/dickens/

*Dickens Christmas Tour at National Gallery: http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/event-root/december-2011/a-dickens-christmas-tour.php

*Dickens at the British Library: A Hankering after Ghosts: Charles Dickens and the Supernatural, British Library,London, until March 4 2012

at: http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/cdickens/index.html

And here: http://www.culture24.org.uk/history%20&%20heritage/literature%20&%20music/art370174

Dickens and London at the Museum of London:


*There is also the Dickens Exhibition at The Morgan Library.  Here is the online component you can visit without leaving home: you can view 20 pages of A Christmas Carol and read a letter penned by Dickens…

Dickens at the Morgan Library

*Penelope Wilton [a.k.a. Mrs. Crawley in Downton Abbey!] reading Claire Tomalin’s Dickens biography at the BBC:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017v88v


Dickens World

Dickens World – March 7-8, 2012. and online event free for all: http://dickensworld.wordpress.com/ 

*The Dickens Dictionary – John Sutherland

 * Dickens’ real life characters drawn from life? [with thanks to Tony G!]

* and see Tony’s post on Dickens on his blog London Calling, with a good number of photographs of Dickens’ homes and haunts…


And as Masterpiece Theatre never disappoints, mark your calendars for these upcoming Dickens on Masterpiece Classic: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/greatexpectations/index.html 

  • February 26, 2012 at 9pm   (Check local listings)
    The Old Curiosity Shop
    One 90-minute episode
    A teenage girl and her grandfather lose everything to a maniacal moneylender and flee his relentless pursuit. Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius) stars as Grandfather, with Sophie Vavasseur (Northanger Abbey) as Nell and Toby Jones (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Quilp.

    Gillian Anderson - Great Expectations

  • April 1 & 8, 2012
    Great Expectations
    Gillian Anderson, David Suchet and Ray Winstone star in this new adaptation of Great Expectations, widely considered one of the greatest novels by Charles Dickens. Great Expectationsfollows orphan boy Pip as he rises from an apprentice to a gentleman.

    Masterpiece - Edwin Drood

  • April 15, 2012
    The Mystery of Edwin Drood
    The Mystery Of Edwin Drood is a psychological thriller about a provincial choirmaster’s obsession with 17-year-old Rosa Bud and the lengths he will go to attain her. The cast includes Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters) and Julia MacKenzie (Miss Marple).

*And these resources at the Masterpiece website from the 2009 series of movies:

 Further Reading: [with endless links to biographies, works, criticism – and we think there is a lot on Jane Austen!]

I am currently reading Bleak House, one of those books on my TBR pile literally for the past 40 years! I have signed up for a four-session class on “Dickens and the Law” and figure I should be at least somewhat up to speed on Jarndyce and Jarndyce! – What better gift to an author than this – reading and re-reading their works 200 years after they were born!  Anyone else reading Dickens this year of his bicentennial? Please share!

Copyright @2012 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Penny Post Weekly Review ~ All Things Jane Austen!

The Penny Post Weekly Review

December 12, 2011

News /Gossip

Author Lev Raphael on “Thank you Jane Austen”

A website I just stumbled upon [yet not new!] Why Jane Austen.com : A Truth Universally Acknowledged.

JASNA ~  National & Regional News

A new blog:  a gentleman [we shall call him Janeite Kirk] who belongs to not just one but TWO Boston Jane Austen Reading Groups came to our JASNA-Vermont tea this past week and he told me their blog with some fine pictures and many links to “All Things Jane Austen”:
Austen in Boston: A Jane Austen Reading Group
They also have a facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Austen-In-Boston-A-Jane-Austen-Book-Club/213374625342080?sk=wall

JASNA Eastern PA is having a Jane Austen Day celebration on April 28, 2012.  You can read all about it on their website, where you will find a link to their youtube videos: http://www.jasnaeastpa.org/jaday.html – they also have a facebook page: www.facebook.com/jasnaeaspa, and a youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/jasnaeastpa

Vermont News 

[Image from: Cactus Creek Daily]

Hooked in the Mountains – Stuck in Vermont, and you can visit the website of the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild here: http://www.gmrhg.org/ 

The Shelburne Museum has posted information on the use of LED lights to illuminate your collections: http://shelburnemuseum.blogspot.com/2011/11/looking-into-light.html

The Circulating Library 

The British Library has made available its British Newspaper Archive
Just type in “Jane Austen” and you will be kept busy for hours!

And read this review of the archive at The Digital Victorianist: http://www.digitalvictorianist.com/2011/12/the-british-newspaper-archive-2/ 

And for other newspaper archives, see this link at the Library of Congress to their Newspaper Resource List and also Newspaper Archives on the Web  

  • Books I am Looking Forward to… 

From the National Portrait Gallery:
Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People

Eight internationally acclaimed authors have invented imaginary biographies and character sketches based on fourteen unidentified portraits. Who are these men and women, why were they painted, and why do they now find themselves in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery? With fictional letters, diaries, mini-biographies and memoirs, Imagined Lives creates vivid stories about these unknown sitters from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

For your iphone, ipad and such: Ebook Treasures: We already know that Austen’s History of England is available from the British Library, but look at this, a 14th Century Cookbook:

“The Forme of Cury is the oldest surviving cookbook in the world, dating from the late 14th century. Originally made by the cooks of the court of Richard II, very few copies survive, and this one, from the John Rylands Library in Manchester, is probably the best and earliest. Written in Middle English, the script can be hard to interpret, and some of the recipes unfamiliar. The book gives an incredible insight into medieval kitchens, as well as medieval life itself.  The book contains one hundred and ninety-four recipes which reveal the amazing variety and elaboration of the dishes available to the elite, including stews, roast dishes, jellies, tarts and custards. Among the recipes are ‘Chyckens in gravey’, ‘Blank manger’ (a white savory stew, from which the word ‘blancmange’ derives),‘Furmente with porpays’ (porpoise in wheat porridge), and ‘Crypses’ (fried pastries). 

The manuscript is still in a very worn, and possibly original, binding and it may well have been used as a practical cookery book in an aristocratic or royal kitchen. However, unlike modern recipe books, the Forme of Cury doesn’t give exact quantities or cooking times, so a lot is left to the skill and imagination of the cook. 

This iBook contains the complete manuscript along with transcriptions from the Middle English. iTunes £3.99 ” [from the website]___________________________________

 An Introduction to the Tokens at the Foundling Museum, by Janette Bright & Gillian Clark. Price:   £5.00

[with thanks to the Two Nerdy History Girls for the heads-up]

Michael Dirda of the Washington Post reviews Death Comes to Pemberley – this is on the top of my TBR pile… 

For those non-vegetarians out there with an interest in the Meat of London, here is a tasty read [and perhaps an unsettling one?]: 

Meat, Commerce and the City: The London Food Market, 1800–1855 by Robyn Metcalfe –  all you ever wanted to know about the Smithfield Meat Market, due out in March 2012 from Pickering & Chatto.
[image from Victorian London.org]

Tides of War, by Stella Tillyard  

An epic novel about love and war, set in Regency England and Spain during the Peninsular War (1812-15), by the acclaimed historian and bestselling author of “Aristocrats.” Tides of War opens in England with the recently married, charmingly unconventional Harriet preparing to say goodbye to her husband, James, as he leaves to join the Duke of Wellington’s troops in Spain….

And read a review at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/tides-of-war-by-stella-tillyard-2292233.html

A book about the plague, Ralph Tailor’s Summer by Keith Wrightson – visit the publisher Yale Books where you can read a fascinating extract from the preface.

And it is always a good habit to check out the newest titles at GirlebooksThe Female Quixote, by Charlotte Lennox.

Robert Adam - Wikipedia

If architecture is your passion, here is a new work, also published by Pickering & Chatto:  Robert and James Adam, Architects of the Age of Enlightenment, by Ariyuki Kondo, available now… 

  • Articles of Interest 

Lynda A. Hall. “A View from Confinement: Persuasion’s Resourceful Mrs. Smith.” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 7.3 (Winter 2011).

And John Mullan with another of  his “Ten Best” at The Guardian– Austen makes the list yet again! 

Charles Dickens ~ his 200th birthday!

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is getting a good number of  exhibitions all over in celebration of his 200th birthday: you can check the various happenings at the Dickens 2012 website.  

Here are a few of the current offerings: 

*Dickens Christmas Tour at National Gallery: http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/event-root/december-2011/a-dickens-christmas-tour.php

*Dickens at the British Library: A Hankering after Ghosts: Charles Dickens and the Supernatural, British Library,London, until March 4 2012

Info at: http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/cdickens/index.html

And here: http://www.culture24.org.uk/history%20&%20heritage/literature%20&%20music/art370174

Dickens and London at the Museum of London:

Bleak House 1st ed. - Museum of London


*There is also the Dickens Exhibition at The Morgan Library.  Here is the online component you can visit without leaving home: you can view 20 pages of A Christmas Carol and read a letter penned by Dickens…

Dickens - Morgan Library

*Penelope Wilton reading Claire Tomalin’s Dickens biography at the BBC:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017v88v
[with thanks to Tony G.!]

 Museum Musings ~ Exhibition Trekking 

Yale Exhibition - Adapting the Eye

Yale Centre for British Art: Adapting the Eye: An Archive of the British in India, 1770–1830 [October 11, 2011–December 31, 2011] 

 Organized to complement the Center’s major exhibition on Johan Zoffany, who spent six productive years in India, Adapting the Eye explores the complex and multifaceted networks of British and Indian professional and amateur artists, patrons, and scholars in British India in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and their drive to create and organize knowledge for both aesthetic and political purposes. Selected from the Center’s rich holdings, the exhibition includes a diverse range of objects from both high art and popular culture, including albums, scrapbooks, prints, paintings, miniatures, and sculpture, demonstrating how collecting practices and artistic patronage in India during that period constituted a complex intersection of culture and power.

Auction News 

At auction this coming week:  Bonham’s Fine Books and manuscripts, December 15, 2011:

 Lot No: 5159  WALKER, MRS. ALEXANDER. Female Beauty, as Preserved and Improved by Regimen, Cleanliness and Dress. London: Thomas Hurst, 1837.

8vo (183 x 107mm). With 11 lithographed illustrations, 10 hand-colored, each with hand-colored overlay, showing how physical characteristics (thick waist, broad jaws, short limbs, etc.) can be camouflaged in order to enhance one’s appearance. Later morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, spine gilt, a.e.g. Custom slipcase. Some staining to spine, minor foxing throughout, offset from plates.  Estimate: US$500 – 700. 

And more of Mr. Dickens! Lot No: 5177: DICKENS, CHARLES. 1812-1870.

A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843.

8vo. [viii], 166, [2] ad pp. Hand-colored engraved frontispiece and 3 hand-colored plates. Original cloth blindstamped and gilt, a.e.g. Custom morocco pull-off case by Scroll Club Bindery. Pp 64-70 lightly foxed, binding slightly cocked and faded.

Provenance: Jerome Kern (morocco book label); Frank Brewer Bemis [1861-1935],Bostoncollector, whose collection was dispersed by Rosenbach and Goodspeed (bookplate). 

FIRST EDITION, THE KERN-BEMIS COPY. Second issue of the text, with “Stave One” on page [1], title page in red and blue dated 1843, and yellow endpapers, but first state of the binding (the closest interval between blindstamped border and gilt holly wreath being 14-15 mm not 12 mm, and the upper left serif of D intact). Todd calls this binding point a “desideratum … encompassing all the others,” and of greater importance in priority than the textual points (The Book Collector, 1961, pp 449-454). Eckel, p 116; Sadleir 684.  Estimate: US$4,000 – 6,000.

 Lot No: 5284 : GEORGE III. 1738-1820.

Document Signed (“George R.”), 1 p (with conjoined docketed blank), folio, St. James’s, May 25, 1781, being a pay warrant for General Henry Seymour Conway for the Royal Horse Guards for the year 1779, additionally signed by CHARLES JENKINSON, Earl of Liverpool, toned, tape stains at upper and lower right corners, small chips at edges, matted and framed.

Provenance: with Thomas F. Madigan,New Yorkautograph dealer (signed letter of authenticity, October 26, 1935). Estimate: US$800 – 1,200.

 Prices Realized at Auction: 

Mr. Dickens yet again!: A complete set in fine bindings of the first editions of Charles Dickens’s Christmas Books. Five volumes, uniformly bound, London, 1843-1848. Includes A Christmas Carol. Sold for $6,480. [Swann]


Dance Card for the Union Ball in Honor of the Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, $3,840 at Swann Galleries of New York on December 1.

A dance card issued to the guests atLincoln’s inaugural ball in 1861. Courtesy of Swann Galleries.These cards, with die-cut decorative border and a ribbon through one corner, were issued to guests at the inauguration ball inWashington,D.C.on March 4, 1861. On the second of the four pages are listed the twenty-three planned dances that will take place to the music provided by L. F. Weber’s band, while on the third is space to write in one’s partner for each dance. On the rear panel are printed the names of Lincoln and his vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, around an illustration of a bald eagle, captioned “The Constitution.”  [Invitations to the ball appear from time to time and sell for upwards of $8,000, but Swann could find no previous record of a dance card at auction.]

From the ever-interesting Booktryst website:

$7,500. for two albums by Paul Garvani: La Boite aux Lettres [the mailbox] [c1839] at Booktryst: 


Had to share this lovely illustration!


If you have not been following Austenonly’s posts on antique clothing at auction, take a look here: http://austenonly.com/2011/11/24/auctions-of-georgian-and-antique-clothing-kerry-taylor-auctions/ 

London sitings:

*Tony Grant at his London Calling blog on “Tea, just like Jane – Twinings”

*A tour of Dr. Johnson’s Londonhttp://yalebooks.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/what-dr-johnson-knew-julie-flavell-takes-us-on-a-tour-of-georgian-londons-fleet-street/

Reason enough to go to London in May [like one needs a reason…]:  
The Chelsea Flower Show

 Regency Life and Customs 

  • History 

*While searching in the eBritish Library Journal, I came upon this article on “‘Most Secret and Confidential’: The Pressed Copy Nelson Letters at the British Library” by Colin White  – with images [notice Nelson’s writing desk]:

also this article on political poetry of the late Georgian period – all poems about William Pitt: http://www.bl.uk/eblj/2004articles/pdf/article5.pdf 

and this on Peter Pindar: ttp://www.bl.uk/eblj/2002articles/pdf/article4.pdf

*A blog by the author Sarah J. Waldock: Renaissance and Regency Rummage Repository, where you can find a number of posts about Nelson and the Royal Navy, and other historical goodies…. You can follow her on Twitter as well here: http://twitter.com/#!/SarahJWaldock

  • Cookery:  [via Austenonly, so thank you Julie for these delicious links!] 

Food History Jottings: http://foodhistorjottings.blogspot.com/  the new blog of Ivan Day – and his website on the history of food: http://www.historicfood.com/ 

  • Fashion  [with more thanks to Julie at Austenonly!] 

*Australian Dress register http://www.australiandressregister.org/ 

*New fashion blog: http://serenadyer.blogspot.com/


If you are into hair collecting [a little late for our Regency tastes, but what good Victorianist is not into hair…], here is a short essay on the topic at Paul Fraser Collectibles.

And then you might like to add this to your collection: Lord Nelson’s hair for £49.95, or Napoleon, and the Duke of Wellingon, all the same price – also Dickens and Steinbeck and Paul McCartney, etc – but alas! – no Jane Austen!  

 – you can view them all here: http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/famous-hair/ 
Did I mention that the hair is only 1/16th of an inch?

For Fun

This from How to be a Retronaut, always a fun place to visit : Harry Hill’s Take on Tate  

Harry Hill's Take on Tate

You can purchase the book of postcards here: http://www.tate.org.uk/shop/do/Postcards/Harry-Hill-Postcard-Book/product/46302

And this is way too much fun to look at – The Love Diagrams of Jane Austen at Diana Peterfreund’s website: [visit her site for diagrams of the other novels]

 And finally, this is all over the airwaves, and we will have to wait until December 16th for it all to be unveiled, but visit the website of The Austen Games.com to whet your appetite and ponder.…  

**And, see you all on the 16th for the
Jane Austen Birthday Soiree!**

 Copyright @2011 Jane Austen in Vermont