From Ballrooms to Drawing Rooms: Jane Austen and the English Country House

Who better to explore the English country house than with the novelist Jane Austen?

Her works are synonymous with descriptions of rolling parkland, grand Palladian porticos, and candlelit ballrooms. Indeed, cinematic versions of Austen’s beloved novels are filmed in fine historic houses such as Saltram, Basildon Park, Belton and Chatworth, and in the landscapes of Stourhead and Lyme Park.

Jeremy Musson, author and architectural historian, explores the English country house through the lens of one of England’s greatest and most beloved authors. From drawing room to ballroom to garden, Mr. Musson will reveal Austen’s subtle attitudes in her works to the architecture and planning of the country house, and also the function and enjoyment of the houses.

Austen’s actual descriptions of houses are sparse indeed, but she references houses through the mouths of her characters — including Mr. Collins’ enumeration on the windows of Rosings; to Mr Ferrars on the delights of the cottage orné; Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s first reaction to Pemberley; and Fanny Price’s shy recognition of the pleasures of Mansfield Park on her departure. Mr. Musson will offer a fresh and enjoyable perspective on the houses which Jane Austen knew, through family and social connections, as well as contemporary accounts of such country houses.

The piano nobile of the Great Stair designed by Robert Adam at Osterley Park, Middlesex ©National Trust Images Dennis Gilbert

Jeremy Musson, FSA, Historian and Author

Jeremy Musson is a leading commentator and authority on the English Country House. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and sits on a number of boards and trusts including the Country House Foundation. He was awarded an M Phil in Renaissance History at the Warburg Institute, University of London, in 1989 and was Architectural Editor of Country Life from 1995-2007. Before joining Country Life in 1995, Mr. Musson was an assistant regional curator for the National Trust in East Anglia. He has written and edited hundreds of articles on historic country houses, from Garsington Manor to Knebworth House. Mr. Musson also presented 14 programmes on BBC 2, making up two series called The Curious House Guest in 2005-07, and he also lectures and supervises for academic programmes with Cambridge University, London University and Buckingham University, and the Attingham Summer School. Among his books include Up and Down Stairs: The History of the English Country House Servant (2009), English Country House Interiors (2011), Robert Adam: Country House Design, Decoration & the Art of Elegance (2017)The Country House: Past, Present, Future: Great Houses of the British Isles (2018), and Romantics and Classics: Style in the English Country House (Rizzoli, 2021).

LIVE

Thursday, November 3 | 2:00 p.m. (ET)

Online via Zoom Webinar

$15 ROF members; $20 non-members

Register for Live

*If you are a Royal Oak member, you must be signed into the website to register as a member. Click the sign in button at the top right of the shopping cart. Add the standard ticket to the cart and the discount will apply at check out. 

RENT

From Friday November 4th to Thursday, November 17th

Rent the recorded lecture to watch at your leisure

$15 ROF members; $20 non-members

Register to Rent

The Zoom video link will be sent to you on Friday November 4th at 12:00 p.m. noon (eastern).
Please check your spam or junk folder if you do not receive the link in your inbox. If it is not there by 1:30 p.m. (eastern), contact us right away at zoom@royal-oak.org
 
The rental video will be hosted on the Zoom website and only available for streaming until Thursday, November 17th at 11:59 p.m. (eastern).  The video will not be available after that date and time. It cannot be downloaded.
 
*If you are a Royal Oak member, you must be signed into the website to register as a member. Click the sign in button at the top right of the shopping cart. Add the standard ticket to the cart and the discount will apply at check out.