Saturday, February 2, 2013

Late For An Important Date!

I am late to the drama of Downton Abbey.  Somehow I did not get caught up in it at the beginning and then I resisted because I didn't want to join the madding crowd.  I succumbed after my daughter fell in love and encouraged me to have a look.  I did.  I was hooked and spent a whole weekend catching up.  You can do that, you know.  I watched on Amazon Prime.  It was a pleasant distraction while I rested and treated a bad cold.  I am in love with several characters and weary of a few.  At this point I hardly care what happens to Bates and I am furious that Mr. Fellowes has killed off Lady Sybil. 

Intrigued by the castle and its surroundings, I looked around for specific photos of the interiors.  They seem to be rare.  I wanted to study the rooms for two reasons.

One is that since a TV show called Mad Men almost single handedly set forth a new movement in home design and fashion, I'm paying attention to what might be the next major influence.

The other is that I just cannot resist checking for authenticity. It isn't criticism but more a learning curve for myself.

At the beginning of each episode the bell rings from this room - The Saloon - and quite a lot of action seems to take place in this handsome setting.  
Since we begin just prior to WWI there is a good chance that 1940's chair with its blonde legs showing might not have been around at the time.  
There are lots of reds and shades of red in many of the rooms. 
A swatch of the wallpaper in Lady Mary's bedroom. 
I'm not sure we have seen this lovely room - The Morning Room - on the show.   Chintz slipcovers.  Ultimate British decor.  I really wish there were a few books stacked somewhere.  Do proper Brits read in the morning? 
'Downton Abbey' is mostly filmed at Highclere Castle, a 1,000-acre estate in Hampshire, England.  No one has counted rooms lately but there are at least 200.  Clearly lots of rooms for the homeowners if filming is taking place elsewhere in the house.   The owners do reside there and readily admit that the TV show has been a dose of plasma for the budget. 
The awesome library with shades of red.  It seems warmer when the players are in the room and shots are more vignette.  I have worked with a much similar rug because a client was passionate about it.  I'm glad to see the color interpreted to red.  My client and I ended up with more of the blue-grey green in our room.   We used some red but not as dominant as above.. 
Map room?  I didn't find a title.  I really like the chairs in this room.  Then I wonder about the efficacy of actually sitting on the window seats without bothering the folds in the draperies.  I just want to live in every part of a room. 
AH!  This is one of my favorite shots in a recent episode.  Definitely a celebration.  Life needs more silver and crystal and celebration!
Is there a chance we can lean back toward more opulence?  I didn't look up what has to happen to the economy for this to happen. 
As we leave Downton Abbey I've chosen to show a structure that is actually on the site but so far not seen in the show.
This distant view of Highclere is through one of the more spectacular grounds features known as Heaven's Gate.  This gate-like structure is known as a "folly" meaning it has no particular purpose other than to fram the view of the castle from a nearby hillside. 
For some reason I am reminded of the Keats quote:  "Beauty is truth".  How delightful that something is there just for the folly of beauty.  Or would that be the beauty of folly? 
Is it the architecture, design, fashion, characters or story?  Seems to me it is all a pretty picture.  Well, except for Sybil.

1 comment:

  1. It was nice reading about the rooms of Downton Abbey from a designer's perspective. I'm sure you're right that the show will affect styles in fashion and houses. I love the show, wouldn't miss it but am probably one of the few who suspects that Bates not only did that but many more nefarious deeds. We'll see.

    Loved this post!


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