Welcome to Pemberley, Mrs. Darcy!

Pride and Prejudice has become one of the best-known novels by an English writer Jane Austen (1775-1817).  She was a woman who had enough wit and courage to write about social conventions in a way that is still relatable today. Does a mother who interfere with your love life sound familiar? Or nosey neighbours? Or a man whom you first kind of despise and then realize that there is this certain something in the way he carries himself, especially when you see his house worth some zillion of pounds?

Elizabeth (Lizzy) Bennet and Mr Darcy – a couple of protagonists who finally get together is known to most of us mainly from exceptional adaptations – BBC TV series (1996) with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, and Joe Wright’s film (2005), starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. Both versions, if you still haven’t seen them, are highly recommended.

Trivia: Bridget Jones’ Diary is loosely based on P&P. Remember Mark Darcy? It’s not a coincidence that Colin Firth is both in a BBC TV series and in BJD. Helen Fielding reinvented Darcy as an upper middle-class lawyer who likes to wear presents from his Mum…

The book is full of decorous interiors – of Netherfield, Rosings or Longbourn – but one of the most spectacular houses in the history of British literature is Darcy’s estate – Pemberley. It is commonly believed that Jane Austen modelled Pemberley on Chatsworth House – an astounding 17th-century mansion in Derbyshire, UK.

Chatsworth House and Bridge.jpg
Chatsworth House and Bridge” by Kev747Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Chatsworth bedroom.jpg
Chatsworth bedroom” by Martin Hartland from UK – Chatsworth House. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 It is no wonder that the screenwriters choose this place as the setting for their adaptations.

When Elizabeth visits Pemeberley (with her uncle and aunt), Darcy is not there. Elizabeth tries to make sure that she won’t meet him, as she feels anxious after having rejected his first proposal to her (not to spoil too much for you here, on the list of 10 top worst proposals ever, it comes as…well…first). She sees the place and is instantly overwhelmed by its grandeur, surroundings and interiors. A famous phrase: „And of this place […] I might have been mistress!” must resonate in her ears when she wanders around, room by room.

Here are two relevant passages from P&P:

Vol. III, chapter I

“Elizabeth, after slightly surveying it, went to a window to enjoy its prospect. The hill, crowned with wood, from which they had descended, receiving increased abruptness from the distance, was a beautiful object. Every disposition of the ground was good; and she looked on the whole scene—the river, the trees scattered on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she could trace it—with delight. As they passed into other rooms, these objects were taking different positions; but from every window there were beauties to be seen. The rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture suitable to the fortune of their proprietor; but Elizabeth saw, with admiration of his taste, that it was neither gaudy nor uselessly fine; with less of splendor, and more real elegance, than the furniture of Rosings.

“And of this place,” thought she, “I might have been mistress! With these rooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted! Instead of viewing them as a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own, and welcomed to them as visitors my uncle and aunt.” (source)

Elizabeth is surprised when Darcy unexpectedly returns home – BTW – it’s a classic scene from the BBC TV series.

In the end, Elizabeth becomes the Lady of Pemberley. What I suggest below is how her bedroom might have looked like, or rather a contemporary version of such a bedroom in Janie Hirsch’s elegant and sophisticated project:

What’s important for this interior?

  • Colours inspired by nature: golden sunsets, sand-beige garden paths, green foliage of the trees
  • Ornaments and floral design
  • Natural fabrics: cotton, wool, damask, silk, linen
  • Dominant patterns: jacquards, flowers, stripes
  • Dominant colours: gold, écru, green, beige
  • Dominant furniture style: Regency, late Baroque
  • Dominant materials: natural wood, metal
  • Walls: patterened wallpapers, pastel paints
  • Important details: embroidery, lace, trimming, fittings
  • If you can do only one thing in this style: bed linen/ curtains

In this style:

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Have a wonderful week.



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