Thursday, December 3, 2015

Regency Country Life

I am very much charmed by English country homes with the large barns, green hill sides with grazing sheep, rock fences and nearby streams with the gently turning water wheels. These were the homes of squires and modest barons. The Bennets had such a home in Pride and Prejudice.

They had great names, usually prompted by a local natural feature or nearby historical monument: Broadoaks, Moat Farm, Oak Farm, Lakeland, Manor Farm, Church Farm, Old Hall Farm. In Wicked Siren (Wicked Affairs, 6), my country baron Alex Preston lived in Kent at Oak Hoo:

“Prior to my family owning the home, it was called Oak Hoo. Hoo being an old Saxon name for the spur of a hill.”
“Oak Hill, is it?”
“No. We never changed the name. Most
everyone still calls the place Hoo.”

Naturally when I pictured Oak Hoo, I pictured this.

And then there was Glen Arbor, the home of Edward Chase, the Earl of Redding. This story was Wicked Lord (Wicked Affairs, 3). While the home had all of the bucolic earmarks of a country manor, this home was more stately with matching landscaped grounds. Edward even tries to charm his new wife by telling her about the deer that graze on the lawns.

Edward’s gaze followed hers, glancing at the Palladian monument, a testimony to his great-grandfather’s grandiosity. Edward did enjoy the breezy old mansion, but then he’d grown up here, running the fields, swimming its lakes and riding everywhere else.

Palladian architecture is a European style of architecture derived from and inspired by the designs of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). That which is recognized as Palladian architecture today is an evolution of Palladio's original concepts. Palladio's work was strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans – Wikipedia

This style was also popular during the colonial period and through the Revolutionary War in America. Palladian can still be considered a simple, boxy style home in contrast to the showy Georgian architecture which would typically involved white paint, crescent shapes and wrought iron balconies.

It is hard for some to think of the Regency period outside of London ballrooms and the flurry of the Season but the country house parties, the poor relatives and the vicar’s daughter were best featured in rural settings. I find a lot of comfort in the idea of changing seasons, planting and plowing and the inevitable cycle of life and death. Both the squire and the duke would maintain their herds, breed their horse stock and “chill” in the country.

Nearly all of my story arcs end up in the country: for healing, for peace, for family time. I find the English countryside to be one of my favorite story settings.


Cara Bristol said...

Beautiful. People in the US should really get out and travel more! See more of the world. I love seeing things like this when I travel.

Eliza Lloyd said...

So true! There are so many fabulous places to visit. England, France, Italy, Greece. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. :)