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.