Posts Tagged ‘Pride and Prejudice 1995’

Copyright (c) Jane Austen’s World. Lyme Park in Chesire is best known today as the exterior of Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice 1995. The house, situated near the village of Disley, was the principal seat of the ancient family of Leghs, whose ancestor fought bravely in the battle of Cressy. Once a hunting lodge, the building dates back to Elizabethan times. Its classical facade was designed in the 1720’s by the famed Venetian architect, Giacomo Leoni. The lake made famous by Colin Firth’s dip was once the source of a cascade, or a staircase with water running down it, from 1703-1818.

Lyme Park. Image @Lesley Rigby, Panoramio

The vast moors and lands of Lyme Park housed herds wild cattle and fallow and red deer, which had roamed the area for around five hundred years. Lyme Park’s stags were famous for their size and fierceness, but their wildness did not prevent them from being driven annually across the water. The two sources below do not list the reason for this custom, but one imagines it was to drive the herds to “greener” pastures.

Manners & Customs of all Nations


(For the Mirror)

ORMEROD, in his splendid History of Cheshire, says, “The park of Lyme, which is very extensive, is celebrated for the fine flavour of its venison, and contains a herd of wild cattle, the remains of a breed which has been kept here from time immemorial, and is supposed indigenous. In the last century a custom was observed here of driving the deer round the park about Midsummer, or rather earlier, collecting them in a body before the house, and then swimming them through a pool of water, with which the exhibition terminated.”

Driving the stags, a view of Lyme Park, 1745. Engraved by F. Vivares after a painting by Thomas Smith. Notice the differences in details between the print and the painting.

There is a large print of it by Vivares, after a painting by T. Smith, representing Lyme Park during the performance of the annual ceremony, with the great Vale of Cheshire and Lancashire as far as the Rivington Hills in the distance, and in the foreground the great body of the deer passing through the pool, the last just entering it, and the old stags emerging on the opposite bank, two of which are contending with their forefeet, the horns at that season being too tender to combat with. This art of driving the deer like a herd of ordinary cattle, is stated on a monument at Disley, to have been first perfected by Joseph Watson, who died in 1753, at the age of 104, “having been park keeper at Lyme more than sixty four years.”

Red deer stag and hind, George Stubbs, 1792

The custom however appears not to have been peculiar to Lyme, as Dr Whitaker describes, in his Account of Townley, ( the seat of a collateral line of Legh,) near the summit of the park, and where it declines to the south, the remains of a large pool, through which tradition reports that the deer were driven by their keepers in the manner still practised in the park at Lyme.” – The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol 14, Percy and Timbs, 1829, p 101-102

In connexion with these deer a very curious custom prevailed at Lyme from earliest times, namely, the driving of the stags at midsummer across a pond, called the Stag Pond — now no longer in existence. This performance was attended by a certain amount of ceremony, it formed a species of entertainment, and neighbours and friends from a distance were invited to be present and to take part in the chase. Vivares,* in a print after a picture by T. Smith,| still preserved at Lyme, represents the stags swimming across the pond, those in the foreground emerging from the water and fighting with their forefeet, the horns being in velvet : in the background are the ladies and gentlemen following the hunt on horseback, dressed in eighteenth-century costume. The print is inscribed :

A View in Lyme Park
With that extraordinary Custom of driving the Stag,

the property of Peter Legh Esqr

to whom this plate is inscribed by his most humble

servant T. Smith

Published Aug : 17. 1745.

* Fran9ois Vivares (1709-1780), a French landscape engraver; came to London 1727 ; kept a print shop, 1750-1780. – The House of Lyme, From its Foundation to the end of the Eighteenth CenturyEvelyn Caroline Bromley-Davenport Legh Newton (baroness), Lady Newton, G.P. Putnam, 1917

The Cage at Lyme Park overlooking the moors. Image @Wikimedia Commons. The structure was built as a hunting lodge and later used as a lockup for poachers.

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Sense and Sensibility 1995. Marianne carries roses and small white flowers.

In ancient times, brides carried bouquets of fragrant herbs and spices to ward off evil, or wore round garlands on their heads or around their necks as symbols of fertility and longevity. Dill, known as the herb of lust, would often be eaten by both the bride and groom. By the 18th century, bridal bouquets of herbs and flowers had come to symbolize delicateness, purity, and new life. (Sage meant wisdom and garlic goodness.)

Elinor's bouquet would have been made of locally grown flowers. Sense and Sensibility 1995.

Celtic bouquets would include greenery like ivy or thistle. Love knots made from rope or ribbons were tied inside the bouquets, a tradition that is still followed today. Edible flowers, such as pansies, would often be tucked in among the herbs. In Jane Austen’s era, brides would carry herbs, greenery, or flowers that were in season, and that could be picked alongside the road or from one’s garden. They included roses, peonies, sweet peas, scabious, lilies, and delphinium. New exotic flowers like dahlias, nerines and fuschia would also be included if they were locally grown.  Only the very rich could afford hot house flowers out of season. Once picked, the herbs, flowers, and greenery would be made into a pleasing arrangement and bound by a ribbon.

Pride and Prejudice winter wedding. Would Lizzie have carried dried herbs or would Mr. Darcy have given her flowers from his hot house?

Decorations to suggest – baskets, urns and vases of flowers were all used during this time. The flowers would have been arranged informally with lots of different varieties and colours jumbled together in the same container. Flowers worn in the hair and as buttonholes became popular. Elaborate garlands and swags combining fruit, vegetables and grasses into the designs were used. Hang these around fireplaces, on walls and around windows. – Historically Themed Weddings

It was not until the Victorian times, that the all-flower bouquet became popular. Queen Victoria carried a bouquet of marigolds, which were edible. Small posies were also in vogue and remained so until the early 19th century.

Flowers also carried meanings in what was known as ‘the language of the flower.’  Roses meant love, freesia trust, ivy fidelity, violets hope, and ferns sincerity.  Until modern times, the choices brides would make for their bouquets would be influenced more by symbolic meaning than by shape or color.

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Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet

David Shipman wrote in his 1996 obituary for Greer Garson:

On her return to Hollywood she was forced into the studio’s chosen image – a New York sophisticate, jagged with sophistication in huge hats – squabbling and making up with Robert Taylor in Remember? But her Mrs Chipping was uppermost in executive minds when casting Pride and Prejudice (1940), based on a stage version which had been bought for Norma Shearer and Clark Gable. Garson and Olivier were much more sensible choices, even if Olivier later observed: “Dear Greer seemed to me all wrong as Elizabeth . . . she was the only down-to-earth sister but Greer played her as the most affected and silly of the lot”. However, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times wrote that she had “stepped out of the book, or rather out of one’s fondest imagination: poised, graceful, self-contained, witty, spasmodically stubborn and as lovely as a woman can be.” Nevertheless those who tend to Olivier’s view sighed for her presence during the recent BBC adaptation, in which Jennifer Ehle completely missed Lizzie’s sense of self-mockery.

Really, Mr. Shipman? I beg to disagree. For quite a few of us, Jennifer Ehle’s Ellizabeth Bennet was close to perfect. She had enough self-deprecating lines to make even a masochist envious. Greer Garson’s Elizabeth Bennet was all wrong, from costume, to her advanced age (she was in her mid-thirties when she made the film), to her interpretation of Elizabeth. I agree with Sir Laurence Olivier’s assessment – Greer was all wrong for the part.

Cheap Pride and Prejudice: Find other comments about this film, which is widely regarded as a classic. My opinion runs counter to that of many movie buffs and critics.

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