A new Regency gown!

Thanks to my friend Elizabeth, I now have a new Regency gown – a full day dress ensemble – that fits! She asked me to be her model for a Regency fashion lecture at Modesto’s Jane Austen-themed JaneCon, and I agreed! She kindly made me the entire ensemble for the cost of materials and washing/ironing labor, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a good thing she loves to sew, because I sure don’t! I do love paying my friends, or doing them favors, in exchange for beautiful clothes! The look and fit is just perfect.

Me in mushroom hat/beret, fichu and spencer jacket
Me in mushroom hat/beret, fichu and spencer jacket. Regency makeup is weird but surprisingly effective – you use burnt cloves to fill in your brows and liquid/pomade consistency lip and cheek products.
Me, Elizabeth in our ensembles for the day
I’m on the left, Elizabeth’s on the right. She made us look good.

The outfit consists of an 1805-ish gown made from a block-printed almost-sheer cotton muslin from Renaissance Fabrics. It’s the first front-opening Regency gown I’ve had, as my other, smaller gowns were all of the slightly later frock (back buttons) variety. Since this gown has a bib front that pins in place, it’s taken a bit of getting used to. I think eventually I’ll add period-incorrect snaps and ties to help keep it in place so I won’t stab myself or flash anybody by accident. Continue reading “A new Regency gown!”

Emma 2020: Filming locations

Emma 2020 Poster
Emma 2020 poster

The Guardian recently presented a list of UK filming locations that are open to visitors, including some of the spots featured in the upcoming adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma.

  • Firle Estate in Lewes, South Downs National Park
  • Kingston Bagpuize House in Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Chavenage House in Tetbury, Gloucestershire
  • Wilton House in Salisbury, which crops up in a ton of period films and television shows. Portions of the 2005 Pride & Prejudice and 1995 Sense & Sensibility adaptations were filmed there (the ball scenes during which Marianne confronts Willoughby). The house’s famous Single and Double Cube rooms are well known as the secret planning locations for World War II’s famous D Day invasion. I’ve been here, and the house and grounds are well worth a visit.
  • Lower Slaughter, a village in the Cotswolds, stands in for Highbury. I’ve been here, too. Seems like every Cotswolds village is picturesque and charming in its own way.

Another Emma trailer…

There’s another trailer for the 2020 Emma Jane Austen adaptation…

Jane Austen’s Emma is almost 200!

Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma
Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma (1996 Miramax adaptation).

It’s hard to believe that December will mark the 200th anniversary of Emma‘s publication. The recent lead up’s been pretty interesting, including a modern retelling of the novel by Alexander McCall Smith and Pemberley Digital’s multimedia Emma Approved adaptation, which wrapped last year. Various organizations, including the Bay Area English Regency Society in the San Francisco Bay Area, are organizing celebrations commemorating the event. Even though it’s not popular on the same level as, say, Pride & Prejudice, people love Emma because it has a little something for everyone.

Before writing Emma, Jane Austen once expressed, “I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like” (James Edward Austen-Leigh’s Memoir of Jane Austen, p. 158). Most believe that the author was at least half-joking when she said this, as Emma Woodhouse is often a great favorite among readers. The character aside, however, the story itself is simply brilliant. Part romance, part comedy, part drama, and part “detective novel,” adapters for stage and screen have lots of choice when it comes to direction and focus. If the depth and texture of the novel has a limitation, it’s in the fact that most adaptations can’t do justice to everything it offers (not even the long miniseries versions).

Jane Austen wrote Emma over the period encompassing January 21, 1814 – March 29, 1815. At his request, she dedicated Emma to her most high-profile fan, the Prince Regent. This is a bit strange, considering that she didn’t care much for him, his conduct towards his wife, or his personality in general. He received a special first edition of the novel (one of twelve “presentation” copies issued by the publisher), in three volumes, which is kept at the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. For more on the presentation edition, see this description of Anne Sharp’s copy (Bonhams auction site). Novelist Maria Edgeworth – a favorite of Austen’s – also apparently received a presentation copy of the novel.

First published in December, 1815 (though the frontispiece is dated 1816) by John Murray, Emma was the last work Austen lived to see released. The first edition consisted of 2000 copies. Oddly, the book did not sell well, so the second printing/edition didn’t happen until 1833. For more information on the initial publication of the novel, look here. You will also find opinions on the novel from Austen’s friends and family right here.

For more on Jane Austen’s Emma and its various media adaptations, visit the Emma Adaptations Pages.

Jane Austen illustrations from the British Library

Technology is awesome. This week, it’s particularly awesome because I learned that the British Library has used it to post a whole mess of nifty illustrations from beloved classic editions of Jane Austen’s novels to its Flikr stream.

Some of these Austen illustrations include Irish Illustrator Hugh Thomson’s famous line drawings for Macmillan’s 1896 edition of Emma, represented below by Mr. Knightley’s proposal.

Hugh Thomson Illustration from Emma
Hugh Thomson illustration for Jane Austen’s Emma: Mr. Knightley proposes.

For more from and about iconic illustrated Austen works, peruse the following:

 

Paul Gordon’s Emma is back onstage – in Arizona!

Anneliese Van der Pol as Emma Woodhouse
Anneliese Van der Pol as Emma Woodhouse.

Paul Gordon’s stage version of Jane Austen’s Emma is back, continuing its 2012-2013 run at the Arizona Theatre Company through January 20. It looks like a very lavish production, starring television and Broadway actress Anneliese Van der Pol as Emma Woodhouse.

The show ran in Tucson from December 1-22, resuming this week in Phoenix. If you live in Arizona, why not ring in the new year with some Emma?

More information on Emma in Arizona:

 

Presentation copy of Jane Austen’s Emma for sale…again!

Anne Sharp's Copy of Emma
Anne Sharp’s Copy of Emma, from Sotheby’s.

I was kind of avoiding this because I thought it might’ve been a bad case of necrolink, but apparently it’s true: Anne Sharp’s presentation copy of Jane Austen’s Emma is indeed for sale…again. It last sold at auction in April, 2010 for the then pounds sterling-equivalent of $271,294.

The set of three volumes is one of twelve special first edition copies – “presentation” copies as they’re called – reserved for Austen’s family, friends, and her highest-profile fan of the period, the Prince Regent (care of his royal librarian, James Stanier Clarke). Anne Sharp is often noted as the only “friend” among the bunch of recipients. Miss Sharp had served as governess to Austen’s beloved niece, Fanny Knight, and by most accounts is the logical model for the Woodhouse girls’ dear former governess, Mrs. Weston, in Emma. Continue reading “Presentation copy of Jane Austen’s Emma for sale…again!”

Happy Hallowe’en!

NPG 6903; The Three Witches from Macbeth (Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Anne Seymour Damer) by Daniel Gardner
The Three Witches from Macbeth (Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Anne Seymour Damer) by Daniel Gardner

Hallowe’en season is here! To commemorate spookiness’ return, I’ve adjusted my blog theme to feature Daniel Gardner’s “Three Witches from Macbeth.” This pastel triple-portrait from 1775 features Lady Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess of Melbourne; Georgiana Spencer Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire; and Mrs. Anne Seymour Damer, the artist, portrayed as the famous witches from Shakespeare’s play.

The famous Duchess of Devonshire was about eighteen years old when she posed for this piece. It was created not long after her marriage to the Duke, at around the same time she became a rising star in Britain’s most fashionable set, the bon ton. Following in her friend Lady Melbourne’s footsteps, and owing to her marriage into a powerful family of Whig partisans, she would also become the most celebrated political hostess in England.

The three friends make awfully cute sorceresses, don’t they? For more on this piece, check out its official entry at the National Portrait Gallery.