Friday, January 19, 2007

Further story about my dishes and Jane Austen.....

We drove down south to Chawton from the Lake District. We found a wonderful farm B&B in Chipping Norton to stay at with the friendliest farmer and his wife. It was really wonderful. There was a good laugh when they asked if we stopped there so we could visit Blenheim Palace the next day. We had no idea we were near Blenheim Palace but were tired and stopped on the way to Chawton to visit Jane Austen's house. They had no idea who Jane Austen was which I found amazing. We joined them later the next day after returning for tea. They asked about how the house was and had I read the novels. I was impressed with the farmer after all and thought he must have been joking with me when he said he did not know who she was. His wife came in the room with tea on a tray and proceeded to ask him if he told me he looked up Jane Austen after we left that morning. We had a great laugh together. I have never forgotten that stay with them or their beautiful farm!
This is the house than Jane lived in with her mother and sister in the Hampshire village of Chawton.

While in one room, I read about Jane writing Cassandra about buying Wedgwood dishes and a some of the original dishes are there at the museum.

Excerpt from Jane's letter:
16 September 1813, Jane was writing to Cassandra from London: "We then went to Wedgwood’s where my brother and Fanny chose a dinner set. I believe the pattern is a small Lozenge in purple, between Lines of narrow gold, and it is to have the crest."

I was also very much in love with the dining table in the parlour of the house which is also the room in which Jane wrote some of her novels. Seeing the set of Wedgwood here after only just buying our own set was very surreal. The photo above is from a book I bought at the museum which shows the parlour and table with the dishes.
A couple of years later, we had been looking for a very long time for a new dining room table. We thought an antique would be too expensive but started to discover that it is not necessarily so. We looked at a number of places and almost were going to buy a rectory table when we decided to stop by one more shop out in the Dutch countryside. We walked in and there was our table. It is a Victorian crack winding table from 1860 but looked so much like Jane's table back in her cottage in Chawton. I was thrilled to have found it. It seemed to have made our trip to England those years before even more complete!


Nancy said...

Nice story Heidi, and everything is so beautiful!


Lynda said...

What wonderful memories! Just think, your dishes will bring this memory back each and every day. Lucky you for having seen Jane Austen's house up close and personal! :)

Mary Kathryn said...

I;ve loved reading about dishes and the story attached to them, thank you for taking the time to share it.


Barbara said...

This is like reading a book Heidi. I can hardly wait for the next chapter. Your dishes are beautiful and I love that table.