Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Architecture of the Imagination

"I will now give you some idea of this vast house ...  You go up a ...flight of steps ... into a large Hall; on the right hand is the dining parlour, within that the Breakfast room ...  .  On the left hand is the best drawing room, within that a smaller; these rooms are rather gloomy Brown-wainscot and dark Crimson furniture ... .  Behind the smaller drawing room is the state Bed Chamber with a high dark crimson Velvet Bed; an alarming apartment just fit for a heroine; ...  .  Behind the Hall & Parlours is a passage all across the house containing 3 staircases and two small back parlours.  There 26 Bed Chambers in the new part of the house & a great many (some very good ones) in the old."
 
This is not fiction, but a description by Jane Austen's mother of Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire, which had been inherited by Mrs. Austen's cousin.  
 
From: Jane Austen's Town and Country Style by Susan Watkins (1990; Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.)  This is a very interesting book with 177 illustrations.

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