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Well, to the interiors of Pemberley as seen in the BBC’s 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice ;)

My dear Twitter friend Adrian Tinniswood tells me that Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire, which is owned by the National Trust,  is today giving a tour of the house with emphasis on its Pride and Prejudice theme.  They will be holding another group tour on this theme on the 30th June. Places are strictly limited, so if you want to book then do telephone the Hall on  01283 585337.

I’ve written about the interiors of Sudbury before, herehere and here…and so I know that on the tour you will see the elegant white and gold Salon where Darcy and Elizabeth had their rapprochement …

The Stair Case Hall where Mrs Gardiner began to understand that Wickham was not quite the thing

The Long Gallery where Elizabeth pondered the portrait of Darcy

and Mr Darcy’s bedroom itself!

Back to Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire for the final part of the series of posts on the rooms used for the Pemberley interior scenes in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Part 1 is accessible here and Part 2 is accessible here. The rooms under discussion in this post are both on the first floor of the Hall: you can see their positions clearly marked on the floor plan below: they are the Long Gallery and the Queen’s Room:

(©National Trust )

The Queen’s Room is found by climbing the Great Staircase and taking the door to the left of the stairs.

This room is the grandest bedroom in the Hall, and was originally the state bedroom, known as the Great Stairhead Chamber in the 1670s when the Hall was first built. Below, you can see the entrance to the room leading from the Great Staircase.

It was called the Queen’s Room after its royal inhabitant, Queen Adelaide, Queen Consort of William IV, who leased Sudbury Hall from Lord Vernon and lived there near the end of her life in the 1840s.

(Queen Adelaide by Sir William Beechey)

We see the room briefly in the BBC’s adaptation, on the morning after the evening at Pemberley when the Gardiners and Elizabeth Bennet had joined Darcy Georgiana, the Hurts and the Bingleys at dinner.

Mr Darcy is shown getting dressed in his own rather exact manner before the great bed and the magnificent fireplace, just prior to riding to Lambton to visit Elizabeth Bennet at the inn.

We are also shown his manservant hurriedly bringing a selection of jackets to him….

The bed is magnificent….

and the lustrous silk lining the walls was restored in 1969, the new silk copied from the 18th century fabric which then decorated the walls.

The great chimney-piece is made of alabaster and was carved by William Wilson, the Leicester born carver who also worked on Lichfield Cathedral(not far from a place Jane Austen knew well, Hamstall Ridware ) during its restoration in the 1660s.

The room is sumptuous and friendly despite its size. It is one of the least intimidating state bedrooms I know….

The final room on our journey around the virtual Pemberley is another favourite of mine: the Long Gallery.

This is simply a stupendous room. A relict of a past, even when it was built in the 1670s. originally long galleries such as this stunning example which can be found  at Aston Hall near Birmingham,

were used as places where exercise could be taken on a wet or wintery day and  many are found in Elizabethan and Jacobean houses. It was unusual to add one to a house built in the 1670s. They were also places where family portraits could be exhibited with ease- all grouped together in one long room, a metaphor for the continuity and longevity of the family concerned. In the late 19th/ early 20th century the fashion was to use the rooms as long reception rooms, divided by clusters of furnishings and, in Sudbury’s case, bookcases.This is how the Long Gallery appeared in 1904.

(©NTPL)

The bookcases and collections of Greek and Etruscan vases have now gone and left in their place is this elegant room,with little to detract from the magical detail of the plaster decoration of the ceiling.

The ceiling is again the work of the London craftsmen, Bradbury and Pettifer (who also worked in the saloon). Its detail is astounding-there are even grasshoppers on the rosette above the central bay window.

We first see this room in the adaptation on the tour of Pemberley conducted by Mrs Reynolds.

The Gardiners and Elizabeth are shown along the gallery…

to the spot where Mr Darcy’s portrait hangs…

And Elizabeth Bennet again contemplates what might have been….

The portrait was especially commissioned by the BBC,and I understand that it was given to Colin Firth,who played Darcy,  as a gift at the end of filming: he in turn gave it to this mother….

But last year it was sold and the proceeds given to charity

Go here to read about it: it fetched am amazing amount of money…..

We also see the gallery lit by moonlight, in the scene where Darcy is on his way to the saloon in the company of his dogs,  remembering just how well his rapprochement with Elizabeth Bennet is proceeding….

And though it is never shown, here is the view from the Long Gallery to the gardens and lake below…

And that ends our tour of the interiors of this version of “Pemberley” : I do hope you have enjoyed it. Next in this series, Burghley House, the setting for Rosings in the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice.

Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire, once the home of the Vernon family and now administered by the National Trust, was used by the BBC as the location for the interiors of Pemberley House in the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Erle.

The house was built in the 1660s by George Vernon: it is thought that the building took place between  1661-1701. It is in fact a strange mix of styles and some aspects of the building were positively old-fashioned for the era in which it was erected. It is built in an “E” shape, a style favoured by the  Elizabethans as a tribute to the Virgin Queen, and its external features-the pattern of the bricks, and the carved stone entrances, all hark back of the past, to the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. The cupola is, however, a very typically Carolinian feature. The interiors were also  a mixture of the old and the new, and the inclusion of a Long Gallery,  running the whole length of the garden front on the first floor,was a decidedly odd and old-fashioned feature in a house of this period. But that all worked in Sudbury’s favour when the producers were sourcing an appropriate interior to use for the rooms of Pemberley House. The slightly old-fashioned but grand rooms of Sudbury easily conveyed the impression of the Darcys as a family  that was old-established gentry, not new money like the Bingleys, and the rooms were grand enough to reflect  the Darcy ‘s associations with the aristocracy and their great riches. Shall we apply to the housekeeper  to take our tour? Let’s ring the Bell, then….

Here is a plan of the rooms on the ground floor at Sudbury; do note that this and, indeed, all the other illustrations in this post can be enlarged by clicking upon them, in order to see the detail. The rooms that were used in the 1995 adaptation were the rooms to the  right of the entrance passage.

(Plan ©National Trust)

They are marked in red on the plan below as 1) The Entrance Passage, 2) The Library, 3) The Drawing Room and 4) The Saloon. The Great Staircase was also used in the production but we shall deal with that ,and with the other rooms, on the First Floor, that were used in the adaptation in our next post in this series.

The Entrance Passage is first seen in Darcy’s recounting of The Letter to Elizabeth as she reads it. We see a strutting George Wickham there, waiting to be paid off  by Darcy…..

And we also see him greeting the innocent Georgiana Darcy.

The Entrance Passage as you can see from the plan above, runs the whole width of the house. It has  a stone floor which was laid in 1671.

The day I visited , I’m afraid it was also very overcast outside, and so these photographs are a little dark. Do forgive me.

The next room on our tour is the Library. We see this in the tour of Pemberley conducted by Mrs Reynolds.Sadly, she  gives incorrect information at this point , telling us and the Gardiners that this room was the favourite of  the late Mrs Darcy. Of course as the daughter of an Earl, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s mother would have been correctly referred to as the late Lady Anne Darcy, not a mere Mrs!

The desk in the room was the one used in the adaptation….

In the Letter sequence, this is where George Wickham is compensated for not wanting to be a clergyman…

The wallpaper in the room was copied by Coles of London, the famous wallpaper firm, from a remnant found behind one of the bookcases during the restoration of the room by John Fowler in 1969. More on the somewhat controversial aspects of John Fowler’s restoration in my next post on Sudbury.

This room has always been a favourite of mine-I’ve been visiting the house since it was opened to the public by the National Trust. It has a cosiness and warmth perfect for  contemplating books and engravings. The room that lies next to it on the plan is the Drawing Room, and this is glossed over in the  adaptation,The Gardiners and Elizabeth merely walk though it, and Mrs Reynolds doesn’t mention it.

She then welcomes them into what she calls The Music Room and is known at Sudbury as the Saloon, the most important of the reception rooms at Sudbury. When it was first built it was probably used as a dining room.

It has the most wonderful plaster work on the ceiling, executed by James Pettifer and Robert Bradbury engaged expensively  from London and the magnificent carving that  decorates the walls was by Edward Pierce, -look at the magnificent swags of cloth,fruit and flowers- and all were completed in the late 1670s.

The panelling  was made from trees grown on the Sudbury estate and was installed by Thomas Johnson in 1677.

Not that the carving and the panelling is highlighted in gilt…

Which gives  a beautiful effect in sunlight or in shade

it is of course while in this room that Elizabeth Bennet has her moment of regret: “And of this place,” thought she, “I might have been mistress!

And this is the scene she looks out onto……except that it is not. She (and we) see the view of the grounds at Lyme Park in Cheshire, which provided the exteriors of Pemberley House and grounds.

If Elizabeth looked out of this window in the saloon at Sudbury-and this is the exact spot where she stood…

she would, in fact see this scene: a semi-formal garden…

leading down to the swans on the lake.

The fireplace is made of jasper and was added in the 1860s..but that didn’t prevent Miss Bingley from making her unfortunate remarks about Elizabeth Bennet’s tan whilst standing before it

And it was a useful place for Darcy to rest  his hopeful head when recalling the rapprochement between Elizabeth and himself…

achieved while Elizabeth was helping Georgiana to turn the pages of her music after having been “attacked ” by Miss Bingley on the subject of the militia.

The Saloon at Sudbury is one of my favourite rooms in any of the hundreds of country houses I’ve visited over the  years. And the rooms in the next post are also among my favourites: I do hope you will join me on Part II of our tour.

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