Pride and Prejudice, An Inspiration

Is there any English novel that more accurately defines our nostalgia for the Regency period than Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen?

Within are all the ingredients for happy hours of reading – country houses set deep in the English countryside, close families and the gossip of village life, dances into the night, romantic misunderstandings and, finally, the promise of happily ever after.

(right) Isabel Bishop (1902–1988) Scene from Pride and Prejudice: "The examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her." 20th century Pen and black ink, gray wash, over pencil Gift of Mrs. Robert E. Blum in honor of Charles Ryskamp on his 10th anniversary as director, 1979; 1979.32:15 Photography by Schecter Lee, 2009.

The Regency houses, be they cottages or stately homes, that Austen describes have one thing in common – furnishings born out of a traditional English style which in turn make it possible today to recreate your very own Pemberley.

“They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. 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. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” (Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, 1813)

'Dancing through the Night', a Regency side chair

This 'Pagoda Lantern' is typical of the Regency period

'The Scrolling Vine' table is hand inlaid with brass leaf details and is based on a Regency original

The original of this Regency torchéré sold at auction for $11,000. The design of the central brass feature is taken from Roman folding tripods used to hold a bowl of oil for illumination or for burning incense. The form was extensively used by eminent designers of the French Empire period and the Regency movement in Classical revival lead by Thomas Hope.

A rosewood and sycamore strung box after a Regency original

This Regency chest has an elegant bowfront top

View more Regency inspiration for your interiors here.

Share and Enjoy:
    This entry was posted in Inspiration and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.