Good day, Mr. Darcy!

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

You Jane Austen lovers will recognize this line as it is the oft-quoted opening sentence of the beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice.

And seriously, who wouldn’t want that man in possession of a good fortune, especially when he gets played by hunks like Colin Firth and lives in a Pemberley, a mansion just like Chatsworth House.

front

In fact, Chatsworth House was used as the set for Pemberley in the 2005 movie starring Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy and Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet.  It was my Mom, lover of all things Jane Austen, who requested the trip.  She was like a tour guide, pointing out rooms with the familiarity of someone who has watched the movie version over and over:  “this is where she first sees him walking down the grand staircase….this is where they walk through the sculpture gallery and recognize they are in love…this is where they embrace”  and so on.

It is believed that Jane Austen actually based her idea of Pemberley on Chatsworth House as she wrote her novel while spending time in neighboring Bakewell, located about 3.5 miles away across the valley.  In Pride and Prejudice she writes,

The eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of the valley …it was a large, handsome, stone building standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned.”

grand

That about sums it up!

The house is a stately home in Derbyshire, England.  It is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549.  The Duchess of Devonshire recently passed away this Fall, and her grand-daughter, Stella Tennant, is a model frequently seen in the pages of Vogue.  The family still resides in the private section of the house that contains a total of 126 rooms and is the hub of a 35,000-acre agricultural estate.

house

During our visit, the rooms were decorated in an Alice in Wonderland theme for the holidays.  As we wandered through the grand state rooms, past priceless art, along mahogany carved walls , around gilded altars, under fabulously frescoed ceilings, we saw installations of the curious Alice, Cheshire cat, lazy caterpillar, white rabbit, queen of hearts, and mad hatter.

mad hat

It was the extensive grounds that we most admired.  The gardens were vast and varied.  We wandered past countless statues…

statue

rock “folly” installations…

rock

luscious waterfalls…

water

beautiful ponds…

ponds

and gorgeous vistas.

vista

ground

We ended our visit with a walk through the Christmas market assembled adjacent to the house, between the old stables and the grand entrance.  At least one hundred stalls lined the grounds, offering a little bit of everything:  fried donuts and grilled sausages, rich fudge and gourmet chocolates, rough-hewn pottery and finely crafted trinkets, hand-knitted sweaters and holiday decorations.  I suppose Darcy and Elizabeth would have turned up there noses to such crass commercialism.

However, we thoroughly enjoyed the day, made more meaningful to me by sharing it with my sweet parents.

parents

Jane Austen nailed it when she explained Elizabeth’s response to Pemberley:

“Elizabeth was delighted…and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!”

I’d say so!

Chatsworth is definitely “something”!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

final fantasy xiv online November 20, 2015 at 9:57 am

Do you have a good sense of humor .

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