Jane Austen News - April 2019
If you loved the scenes of Pemberley in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and wished that you could visit the location where it was filmed, then you might be able to do the next best thing if you're able to get to New York between June 28th and September 18th 2019. David Korins, the set designer for the musical Hamilton is behind the new exhibition which is due to open at Sotheby's in New York on June 28th. It sees the essence of Chatsworth house and estate (which was the filming location for the series Death Comes to Pemberley in 2013, and the exterior filming location for Pemberley for the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film) translated for the smaller space of the galleries of Sotheby's. The exhibition will feature 45 artworks, decorative objects, pieces of jewelry, clothing and archive materials — all drawn from the Devonshire Collection, accumulated over about 500 years by the Cavendish family, and held at Chatsworth House. However, Korins realized that he didn’t just want to make the artwork and objects part of the exhibition; he wanted to include the details of the house itself. In the form of blown-up 360-degree sculptures, Mr. Korins will magnify small details — table legs, moldings, chair feet, corners of rooms — and use them as vitrines and set pieces for the artworks and objects on display. The Duke of Devonshire said he’s thrilled by Mr. Korins’s imaginative design for the exhibition. “I think he has a brilliant way of getting across a grand space in a smaller space,” he said. “I think the architecture of this exhibition will focus attention on the works, and we’ll look at them in a different sort of way.”
Actor Greg Wise, who played Willoughby in Emma Thompson's and Ang Lee's 1995 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, has been named the winner of this year's Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer, beating TV presenter Caroline Flack, newsreader Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and Olympic boxer Nicola Adams to the title. Greg Wise, who went on to marry Emma Thompson (aka Elinor Dashwood) in 2003 after meeting on the S&S set, had put in a lot of practice for the charity competition and even brought in an array of home-made ingredients, resulting in delicious flavours that went down a treat with the judges. His self-portrait in biscuit form went down particularly well with the judges.
At the Jane Austen News we were highly impressed. We also hope he took some home for Emma!
This Saturday just passed (Saturday April 6th) saw the twelfth annual Jane Austen Literary Festival held at the historic Lang House in Mandeville, Louisiana. The Jane Austen Foundation hosts the festival to, as its website says, “uphold the standards which would make Jane proud.” It celebrates the life and lasting influence of Austen (1775-1817), whose six novels and other work captured the sense and sensibility of the era and set the stage for more realism in fiction. As well as a strawberry picnic, officially known as Mr. Knightley’s Strawberry Picking Picnic, and based on the picnic which took place in the novel Emma, there was a Celtic harp ensemble, and a Perfect Love Letter Competition. The letters didn’t have to be romantic — you could have written about your love for most anything, as long as you kept Jane Austen’s propriety in mind. Although it was not required, guests were also encouraged to dress in the style of the Regency period, and a "No Plain Janes" fashion show was held. All in all it sounded like it was a wonderful day, and it's got those of us here at the Jane Austen News even more excited about the upcoming Jane Austen Summer Ball taking place in Bath this June than we were already (which was, and is, a lot)!
We came across an interesting topic for debate this week from journalist Lynne Barrett-Lee. Having entered a discussion about whether art is only really revered once it has become old, she broached the idea that, in a century from now, the work of JK Rowling may be "talked about as breathlessly and adoringly as Austen and Charlotte Brontë are today". This statement was inspired in part by the revelation that the priceless artwork of a sea-nymph on horseback (which was among the treasures recently found in Pompeii, during the biggest excavation in some 50 years) probably began life as nothing more than a shop sign for a thermopolium - a hot food shop. It would have been rather everyday and ordinary (though very well made) then, but now thanks to its age, it has become great art; and the run-of-the-mill artisan who made it can be seen as a great artist. Could not the same be said in a few years of JK argues Barrett-Lee?
I got into a particularly pointless debate about JK Rowling recently, when someone airily commented that they’d take some long-dead novelist (I forget who) "over Harry Potter ANY day", going on to assert, and rather forcefully, that there was really no comparison between the "quality" of one over the other. ... In short, if it’s old, it gets a free pass in the admiration stakes. We overlay old things with a patina of deference. And not just because they are windows on the past, and therefore precious, but because nostalgia FOR the past is so endemic.Whether or not you agree, it's certainly an interesting topic to discuss!
Lynne Barrett-Lynne writing for WalesOnline.co.uk
Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world.