Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on September 29, 2013
A Visit to the Interior Used in the 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice
Since I was a young girl, I have often watched Pride & Prejudice with my mother and wished that I could be transported to the place where Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy lived myself. Jane Austen’s consummate writings, coupled with the brilliant adaptation of the 1995 BBC miniseries, just made the English countryside come alive and seem as if “Pemberly” and “Longbourn” were real places, and the Bennet sisters were real people. Well, lo and behold, along came this marvelous Pride & Prejuce tour that made me feel as if I had stepped back in time to the land of Jane Austen’s characters! This, then, is the story of my day inside “Pemberly”.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that period drama filming crews are often required to use two separate locations for their on-screen houses – one for the exterior and a separate one for the interior. This was precisely the case when the Pride & Prejudice location scouting team was hunting for a proper “Pemberly” location back in 1994. When they saw the splendid interior of Sudbury Hall, they knew they had found their ideal Pemberly. The outside of the house, however, left much to be desired. An almost gnarly-looking brick structure when viewed up close, it was not a sight fit for the screen and certainly wasn’t grand enough to meet up to viewers’ expectations of Mr. Darcy’s magnificent home. Consequently, the exterior was filmed at Lyme Park, which I visited while in England and which I will blog about soon!
I must say that when I saw this staircase from the room next door, it really felt as if I was stepping straight into the point of the film where Lizzie was visiting with her aunt and uncle! I love this scene from Pride & Prejudice so much, as it is the turning point of the story where Elizabeth starts to change her mind. (“I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberly.” – Elizabeth Bennet to Jane Bennet). And the fact that I was wearing a Regency gown that day was very much in keeping with the time period!
The Portrait Gallery
Then we climbed up a set of winding stairs to the upper level where Elizabeth Bennet supposedly saw the portrait of Mr. Darcy in the portrait gallery. Today the painting used in the film is replaced by an original portrait from the 1600s which is not at all (best read in a British accent, “Not a – tall!”) like the oil painting of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Nevertheless, this hall of framed artwork is just as magnificent as it appeared in Pride & Prejudice! I did so want to wear my reproduction of the costume Jennifer Ehle wore in this scene, but I had to save it for the next day at the exterior of Pemberly and therefore wore my Georgiana Darcy gown instead.
Mr. Darcy’s Room
Next is a regal room decorated in rich burgundy which you may remember from the scene where Mr. Darcy tells his servant, “No, no, the green one. Yes, that will do.” It is a famous scene because it occurs right in between Elizabeth’s visit to Pemberly and Mr. Darcy’s visit to the Inn at Lambton.
This was one of the most magnificent rooms shown in the whole film, I believe, with all the white and gold moldings and larger-than-life size paintings. Sadly, the furniture which was brought in by the BBC production team has since been removed, but you can still envision the Bingleys and Gardiners sitting there on the period sofas, or Mr. Darcy standing by the fireplace.
The Entrance Hall & the Georgiana Darcy Dress Reproduction
And then we come to what was my favorite part of the house, if only because it was the very spot where Georgiana Darcy had worn the dress that I had recreated for the occasion. Note that Georgiana’s costume appeared to be an embroidered batiste or voile, whereas mine was a point d’espirit netting lace with a nearly identical pattern. But unless you were really trying to compare the two you probably wouldn’t notice a difference. I sewed my Regency dress with the same design of the rounded square neck, short puffed sleeves with long attached undersleeves, and a simple cotton underdress that looked just like the film version. This gown was made using this pattern from www.sensibility.com. First below are pictures from the film, and then my reproduction dress and the entry hall as it looks today.
And after a marvelous day of adventure in the land of Jane Austen, my whole group then toured the exterior of Pemberly the very next day! It was simply amazing, and as usual I recreated a film costume for that location as well. I will be sure to share pictures of that soon! But for now, I think I’m going to go sip a cup of tea, cut out a 1940s dress, and remember my marvelous time in England.
Until next time, happy sewing!