Tag Archives: period dramas

Twilight Walk at Lyme – Part 2

Night was falling fast, but I had to get one last walk in, to the Cobb – the old harbour area.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

To get there, we walked right along the beach from town.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

There were some pretty terraces along the way. This one was decorated with fossil ammonites, one of the more common species to be found in Lyme.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

Even the lamp posts were sculptured like ammonites. I guess fossil hunting is major tourist attraction in these parts.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

Soon we had a clear view of the old sea walls of the Cobb. Jane Austen used it well in her novel Persuasion – it is the place the main characters visited and the scene of a dreadful accident.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

I’m having a short blog break and will return in a week or so with more on Lyme Regis.

Walk to Chatsworth House – Part 1

I’m back home, and I certainly have had a few adventures as well as taken a few photos. I probably have enough for posts for the rest of the year!

When we left off, we had just ventured through snowy Matlock and Bakewell in Derbyshire, but our destination for the day was Chatsworth. It’s the country home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been since Tudor times, but as a 19th Century literature and drama fan, Chatsworth is one of those places that come up regularly. It is mentioned by Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice, and appears regularly in TV and film as either somewhere very grand, e.g. Mr Darcy’s house, Pemberley, or as itself (as in the film, The Duchess). I particularly visited Derbyshire to see it, and the day was a very big adventure indeed.

After walking to Matlock and catching a local bus to Bakewell, we took yet another bus that dropped us off at Baslow, on the northern edge of the estate – in the middle of a blizzard.

Walk to Chatsworth House

We crossed a bridge and ventured along the country lane to the entrance of the Chatsworth Park.

Walk to Chatsworth House

Walk to Chatsworth House

It really was as cold as it looks, especially with an icy wind blowing. But as we passed through the gates, the sun miraculously appeared, and what did we see? Sheep!

Walk to Chatsworth House

Lovely, black-faced, heritage sheep, grazing in the snow.

Walk to Chatsworth House

They didn’t seem to feel the cold at all. And the parkland with its old trees and pastures were so glittering in the sunlight and beautiful. As far away from dusty Australian paddocks as could be.

Dickens Walk – Part 3

The law was also a subplot in the novel Our Mutual Friend, and some of the action was focused on the Temple area. Eugene Wrayburn and his friend Mortimer Lightwood had their chambers here, and it was where school master Bradley Headstone stalked Wrayburn night after night. The gate below leads from the river into Middle Temple.

Middle Temple Lane

The Inner and Middle Temples are now filled with law chambers, but there was a time when the area belonged to the Knights Templar, hence the name. Consequently, it’s one of the oldest lanes still existing in London today. In the late afternoon, it’s a peaceful place for a stroll.

Middle Temple Lane

Dickens Walk – Part 1

It seems like most of my posts from London have been about the past. Well, I’m not going to stop now!

Being in London, one 19th Century author’s novels became very real – Mr. Charles Dickens. It hit me every day as I walked through the East End that I was walking the same streets that he, and his characters, walked – Fagin’s Saffron Hill and Bleeding Heart Yard in Little Dorrit is literally around the corner. But I’m not going to linger on the East End in this series of posts, but on the law district of London, which form the core of many of Dickens’s novels, such as Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend.

The first place is Lincoln’s Inn, where the old courts of the Chancery used to be. Below is the ‘new’ hall, built in the 19th Century. The old hall across the way was built in Tudor times and was used for chancery sittings up until then.

Lincoln's Inn

The Court of Chancery was the focus of Bleak House. It was where wills were contested and settled – except that cases could last a lifetime, or even several lifetimes – and people literally went insane waiting for a settlement that never came.

On a sunny spring-ish day, all of this bleakness seemed a bit far off, if it weren’t for the fleets of lawyers trundling boxes and folders to court.

Victoria & Albert Museum – Part 2

The V&A is another one of those overwhelming museums with multiple floors and dozens of galleries. There were some wonderful Tudor and Stuart galleries recreating the lives from that era, but my favourite was the fashion gallery. There were some lovely clothes from the Regency and Victorian eras.

Mr Darcy and Miss Bennet.

Victoria & Albert Museum

A lady’s outfit.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Out for a night on the town clothes.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Mmm, makes me want to watch another Jane Austen period drama.

Clerkenwell – Part 3

It’s true that all this talk of history (particularly history beyond the 18th Century) is a bit bewildering for us from the New World, but I suppose even the 12th Century pales in comparison when you look at things from a geological point of view. We’re not getting into geology quite yet, but we are heading back to the 12th Century. Through this Tudor gate is the oldest church in London.

Priory Gate

St Bartholomew the Great

St Bartholomew the Great church isn’t really in Clerkenwell, but in the neighbouring parish of Smithfield. It was built as part of an Augustinian Priory, way back in 1143 – that’s a mere 77 years after the Norman Invasion, in the time of King Stephen (that’s the bad dude in Pillars of the Earth). From the outside, you can tell that it’s an old build by the handmade mortar, full of shells and other bits and pieces, and by the flint stones that were used.

St Bartholomew the Great

From the inside, it’s pure Norman architecture – simple and elegant. Even though it’s been built up and fixed up quite a bit in its time (due to fires and in the Great Wars, bombings), one can’t mistaken it for anything but a medieval church. Unsurprisingly, it’s a sort-after location for period dramas. It’s very easy to imagine bald monks and knights and lords worshipping here.

St Bartholomew the Great

Tess of the D’urbervilles – Part 4

So we come to the final post, and the earliest version of Tess, made by Roman Polanski back in 1979. It’s actually a beautiful version with Tess played by a 17 year old Natasha Kinski, and Angel played ironically, by a very young Peter Firth. Natasha is really astonishing, considering that it’s one of her first roles, she’s acting in a second language with a difficult accent. I think she’s my favourite Tess. And Peter, well it was just interesting to see him as a very young man.

I do like the classic style of this film, with its gorgeous music and cinematography, but I think the ending’s a bit rushed here.

Tess’s attempted confession:

The final moments:

So there you go. Given I’ve actually only seen this version in full, I’m going to track down the 1998 version because it looks fantastic.

Tess of the D’urbervilles – Part 3

The second adaptation was made back in 1998. From these two clips, I think they took a more realistic approach in terms of both style and acting, which I think works. Tess seems a lot more tougher here, and Angel’s definitely better played by this actor.

Here’s the proposal scene in the dairy:

And this is really great, when Angel returns and finds Tess, well, taken:

Tess of the D’urbervilles – Part 2

I know the English have an obsession with adapting Jane Austen, and to a lesser extent, Charles Dickens. However Thomas Hardy’s work generates its fair share of adaptations, especially Tess which seems to get a revival every 10 years or so. It’s then interesting to do a comparison between the last 3 of them, made in 2008, 1998 and 1979.

It’s interesting to see how drama has changed, and how each generation deals with showing the lyrical side of the novel and the challenging storyline. Character-wise, I’m particularly interested in how they cast Tess and Angel Clare, since their story I think produces the most poignant moments.

The last adaptation was only made last year. It’s got the best cinematography of the three that I’m going to cover, but I’m not sure about the casting. The girl who plays Tess is ok, but this Angel seems a bit too foppish for me!

After their wedding, Tess and Angel confess to each other:

Their final moments: