amy merrickliving in

living in: pride and prejudice

by amym

Truth be told, I’ve never struggled over a living in post as much as I’ve struggled with this one. Every girl who holds a small but eternal burning flame in her heart for Mr. Darcy understand that Pride and Prejudice is not something to be taken lightly. I could have spent uninterrupted weeks on end searching the interwebs for the most perfect and fitting things for this post and it wasn’t until I got a sweet little email nudge from Grace that um…. my post was already two hours past due that I finally said enough is enough and called it a day.

Anna Griffin fabric $9/yd, mirrored sconce $135 each, french country footed bowl $39, glass cloche $99, cement candle sticks $79, hawthorne wingchair $2695, adoptable irish wolfhounds, riding boots $189.

For girls like us who care about these things, it’s important to note the epic war raged between the die hard BBC miniseries P&P fans and the Keira Knightly fans. All I can say is that Colin Firth will always be my Mr. Darcy. But I will allow that the 2005 version is mighty pretty, Keira or no. Now that I’ve exposed myself as a girl who spends most of her free time home alone with cats and a pint of ice cream comparing and contrasting various Austen adaptations, let’s pretend we never had this conversation, shall we? Thank you. –amy m.

antique silk brocade $3500, antique mora clock $5500, antique marble bust $2800, quill and ink set $16, mourning locket $115, book boxes $49, campaign bed $1250, pink suede slippers $96.

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  • agreed completely. Pride and Prejudice is a lifestyle. I live in Williamsburg, Va. and the local Parks and Rec has a Regency Lifestyle summer program for teen girls. JEALOUS.

  • This movie adaptation was SO pretty. I watched it over and over for the landscapes, houses, clothes, etc.

    Your picks are perfect!

  • Agree with Ann on the pond scene but the almost kiss in the rain wasn’t bad either! but to be sure, the Keira movie had gorgeous set design, cinematography and a mesmerizing score… now, what about Persuasion…

  • GAH – Love this. I somewhat recently became an Austen movie freak and had my mom sew me one of Lizzy’s costumes from the BBC P&P for Halloween last year. And oh yeah, I’m 30. It was awesome.

  • @ Ann hear hear… i have to get my hands on a copy of that… although the 2005 darcy is more my speed with the whole tall dark and handsome thing, mysterious, with the spooks aura… and the grey eyes… and the lopsided smile (insert drool here) *sigh*

  • OMG. I never, ever, ever tire of P& P. Colin Firth will forever make my 15-year old heart skip a beat, however, I equally love the Keira/Matthew version. I was sooo excited to see this post, as I too have often wanted to find myself living out of that time, simply for all the pretty eye candy… sigh……

  • I live about 30 mins from the beautiful Stourhead gardens, the setting for Mr Darcy and Elizabeth’s stand-off in the pouring rain. (In your picture above of the Hellenic Temple). It is just as romantic in real-life as it seems on screen! Thanks for helping distill the essence of English Country style. I live deep in the English countryside and always aspire to greater Austen-ness in my home.

  • Yes, yes and YES to this post!

    The miniseries is and always will be the gold standard of adaptations (esp. where Darcy is concerned), but the Kira movie was also excellent.

    @newly domesticated: a regency lifestyle program? are you kidding?? i may have to move there and lie about my age…

  • Colin will always be Mr. Darcy.
    I love the visual effects of the Kiera version. I feel that it is more real, but it is hard for me to get over how skinny she is.
    Sutherland is by far the best Mr. Bennett ever.
    Thank you for the post!

  • BBC P&P is what started my obsession with all things Austen… Jane is my hero! Love me some Colin, can’t stand Keira. Great post! One day I will have a bed like that!

  • @A Lix: The activities at the camp include silhouette drawing and embroidery lessons and the week-long camp culminates in a Regency-style ball. I’m seriously considering writing a feature about it (I’m a reporter).

  • This is so wild! I just watched this movie last night while finishing up some sewing project and thought….”boy this would be a great ‘living in’ post!” Love it!

  • I’m so glad that you went with the Keira Knightly version. It’s the one that inspired me to actually read the book. And adoptable Irish Wolfhounds!!!! What a perfect touch.

  • Great post!

    I have a suggestion for a “living in” post for you, also Victorian era. I just watched a movie called Cheri with Michelle Pfeiffer & Kathy Bates. The set design is amazing – especially in Lea’s (Pfeiffer) house. You should take a look! Be well =)

  • *Gasp!*

    I adore the 2005 remake of the film…it’s my fave (I’ve watched it more often than I’d like to admit…). Love love love this post!


  • I really like how scrungy the Knightly version is. Whatever you say about the actors, there’s a realism in that one in the set design and aesthetic that just gets me.

  • Lovely, lovely, lovely – though you must be as ehrm, slim as Keira Knightley to look good in those high-waisted dress. Jennifer Ehle looks rather stout much of the time, with her bosom solid as a shelf…

  • I enjoyed this! I’m a total Austen fan. I have to say Colin Firth does make Mr. Darcy. My second goes to BBC’s “Lost in Austen” Mr. Darcy (I forget his name!)

  • i loved this adaptation! it was visually yummy.
    however like you colin firth is mr. darcy. how about a living in of that version too? ^_^

  • Amy M., I’m with you! I think I’ve seen every P&P and could sound like a Star Wars nerd comparing and contrasting versions. Will always love the BBC Firth P&P, mainly because it has the best Elizabeth but I love this film too. It was filmed beautifully. Love the first comment from Ann. Says it all!

  • PS Newly Domesticated, I think that story would be a hit! You should definitely write it! I’m already hearing a This American Life version of the story in my head. hee hee

  • I have never seen the version with Keira Knightley. I saw the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth version, and I have to say that Colin Firth will always be my Mr. Darcy as well (can you believe I have yet to read the book?).

  • I do thoroughly enjoy your “living in” posts! Cat-loving, ice-cream-eating, compare and contrast habits or not, the posts are always imaginative, have insight into the picture itself, and contain enough stand alone beauty to make me want to rethink my entire wardrobe/home decor/lifestyle.

  • Holly, I’m with you! Truth be told, I’m a total Star Wars nerd AND a P&P nerd… but I have to say that I love the BBC version b/c it is better suited to the book (music, styling, the best Elizabeth, and all). The music was a bit inaccurate in the Kiera version, actually. Either way, it was still pretty! Great Post!

  • We are all nodding our heads in agreement! For me the BBC version wins all the way, though the photography in the film is undoubtedly breathtaking.

  • I was in the 2005 version as an extra, it was so fabulously fun, they had such good costumes and hair for us. I think I preferred bingley to darcy in real life, he was terribly charming…

  • This was the best post, ever! There is nothing more classic and nothing more romantic than evoking this novel/movie. P&P is the greatest love story ever told…. Sigh. Where’s my ice cream?

  • I love this book and I like both the adaptations. The bbc series are closer to the book but the film is sooooo pretty!!

  • Oh I am in love with Keira Knightley version. It is so beautiful the cinematography gets me every time and though I like Colin Firth the other Mr. Darcy with his wonderfully dour expression will always be Mr. Darcy to me. Sigh
    going to look at your post again.
    (ps I pass here every day just never commented as you have a huge following…enjoy my visit everyday though)

  • My favorite living in so far! (well the alice one was pretty grand) I am in love with the 2005 version, I have it on blu-ray and dvd — it is so visually stunning (although I wish they kept more of the amazing austen lines). Thank you for this!

  • Nice post! It would be good if you ladies would credit the talented Production Designer, Sarah Greenwood, and her Set Decorator Katie Spencer. It’s like showing an illustration, a photograph, or a piece of furniture without mentioning the artist responsible for it – yet every time you do a “living in” there is no mention of the Production Designer. IMDB is an easy way to get the info. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0339391/

    • maya

      thank you for the reminder, we will definitely consider that for future posts. my experience with writing about movies is that there are many, many people involved (including, but not limited to, the production designer) with the look and feel of each film, so i’ll talk to amy about looking into that. i can tell you that is definitely not anyone’s intention to leave anyone out or not credit someone’s work.


  • There is nothing wrong with spending time with ice cream, cats, and several Austen adaptations at one’s disposal. NOTHING!

    My heart will forever belong to Colin Firth, though I must admit Joe Wright’s version ranks as one of the most gobsmackingly beautiful films ever to grace the screen. And the soundtrack kills me. I’m listening to it right now, as a matter of fact!

  • I love love LOVE that you included a picture of an Irish Wolfhound. I’ve wanted a wolfhound since I was in elementary school! One day…

    Ps – Mr. Darcy is one of my great loves!! “swoon”

  • If the 2005 version was as beautiful as those pictures and if the script was as fun as your writing, I would have loved it.

    It wasn’t on either count. I cried when it was over because I really hated it that much! (How pitiful is THAT?). I love the book and the BBC and felt very indignant at the movie’s crazy portrayal of many of the characters and the historical setting. And I don’t like Keira. Especially when she smiles. Poor girl, I would forever have held no opinion of her whatsoever if she had just stayed away from Elizabeth.

    But I always, always love your posts, Amy!

  • Favorite book ever.
    Favorite movie ever.
    Love the 2005 version. It’s so beautiful with amazing acting and music. It’s totally my go-to movie and soundtrack.
    Love this post!

  • This post made my day. And I think hanging out with cats, eating ice cream and pondering Austin films sounds like a lovely way to spend some time : )

  • Dear Grace,
    There are many people involved in the making of a film – it is collaborative. Yet, the production designer is the person who is responsible for the overall look. If you were talking about the camera movement or the lighting in a scene then you would credit the cinematographer. In this case, you guys are saying that you love the visual look and certain elements of the sets. Sorry for the rant.

    • Maya

      I’m familiar with how a movie comes together. we’ve written about tv shows and movies before and have been informed by the team that many more than 1 person need to be credited- the visual look comes from a team as well.

      I agreed with your comment and am truly looking into the best way to credit people- I don’t see any reason to need or want a rant.


  • Love P&P (the Colin Firth version). I know that movie by heart. I tried(really hard) to watch the new one and could not get into it. It was very pretty but not the same. Love this post(as anyone loving Jane Austen stuff could not help but do so!).

  • amy m. …no need to pretend we never had this conversation ;)
    …you’re clearly a girl of excellent taste in movies, pets, dessert, and prose! worth the extra 2 hours of fretting at the very least and you’ve certainly won me over!

  • Kindly add me to the masses who say this is the best book of all time.

    These choices are spot-on! And I’ve been obsessed with Comtoise clocks ever since I saw one at this old clock shop, where the guy referred to it as a grandmother clock. Ahhh. One day.

  • Thank you! All I needed to hear was that Colin Firth will always be your ” Mr. Darcy”! I liked the BBC production better but still a great post.

  • I love Kiera Knightley but dare I say it I have not seen the 2005 version just the BBC version. Mr Darcy’s gentlemanliness is so rare these days but so very attractive.

  • My Irish Wolfhound, Darcy (no joke), and I loved the shout-out for the breed and all of your other picks!

  • Adore this movie, my favourite book too. my fave scene is when Keira is on the swing in the courtyard and the seasons change as she swings, a small boat features momentarily and inexplicably – love.

  • I just adore that you did Pride and Prejudice this week. And so spot on as well! I have also been re-reading P&P, and will immediately be watching both versions…again. Great job this week!

  • I just visited Groombridge, the house they used for Longbourne (1st pic) and it is stunning in real life, with beautiful gardens!

  • read the book
    watched the tv series
    watched the movie
    listened to the soundtrack
    visited the jane austen centre in bath

    thank you for this post…i second a feature on persuasion next!

  • Loved it! Every version of P&P done is a celebration of Jane Austin. Is there any way to do a feature on the house that the Bennett family lived in? The exterior is fabulous and I was wondering if the rooms they showed were of that house. Even if they weren’t, I’m curious as to what it looks like inside.

    Love your website since a friend turned me onto it. It’s the only one I check everyday. Keep up the good work!!!!!

  • I agree, the 2005 version was prettier

    I loooooove this, you should do an extended living in P&P because this is my favorite one yet!

  • Matthew McFadyen is the ONLY Mr. Darcy in my world, as talented and as dishy as Colin Firth is, it’s really one of those “Camp Edward vs. Camp Jacob” kinda things. Of course the BBC version is truer to Jane Austin’s novel, as well as lengthier, but you have to give director Joe Wright his dues, he can sure pull on the heartstrings and sweep you away (Atonement made me cry for a week). Thanks for showcasing an obvious favorite!

  • All I can say is I’m now dying to pull out either version. They’re both my favorites for different reasons. Sigh…

  • I saw this post and the biggest, slowest, wistful girly sigh just escaped right out of me. My romantic heart thanks you Amy.

  • Yay yay yay! BBC or Kiera version…I just love that you picked a Jane Austen adaptation. They are the best.

  • Might I be so bold to suggest you take all the ideas you didn’t use on this post and tweak them to do another for the A&E/Colin Firth version??

    Because then I’d die. Die happy!!

  • good god I loved that movie too! And I understand you’re reluctance to attempt to match that movie with a blog post – but you did a great job! I really enjoyed this. Signed, Mrs. Darcy.

  • I just had to leave a comment on this post. I love Pride and Prejudice and I literally laughed aloud about the Cats and Comparing Jane Austen Adaptations tidbit! I dream of turning my teeny studio apartment into a place Elizabeth would love! Thanks for this post.

  • BBC version all the way. Colin Firth is a dreamy dreamboat as Mr. Darcy. I would add a little gold oval picture frame to the ensemble as a tie to when Elizabeth first visits Pemberley. *sigh*

  • This post made me giggle with delight! Colin Firth (in damp shirt) all the way. *holding up ice cream container* Cheers to all of you! Now I have to go feed my cats.

    Actually, before I go, I will mention that I am such an admirer of the BBC adaptations that I started making clothing inspired by the Jane Austen era fashions but adapted for modern wear. The long coat Keira wears in P&P inspired this duster: http://www.etsy.com/listing/43202148/eco-fleece-duster-jacket
    So if you need something cozy for your cats to sleep on, let me know! :)

  • OK, well, dont laugh but I watch the BBC version while I was in labor with my first child and the other while in labor with the second, right through to pushing. Firth will always be Darcy but I have to say that I wasn’t on board with the new one till they cast Matthew. If you had to go with someone else, he’s the one….

  • Amy – this is one of my favorite all time post on D*S. I love all things Jane Austen and was hoping to see Emma or P&P on here one day! I had a rough day at work and this made me smile. So, thanks for lifting my spirits!

  • Thank you for mentioning the BBC P&P. There is no other in my mind.

    When will you do Bright Star? Who cares about Keats’ poetry, when you have Fanny’s amazing creations? I die just thinking about that wardrobe. Find me the mini-mini-granny square shrug, please!

  • Amy, do you take requests? I just saw The Last Station and was almost distracted throughout by imagining it in the context of these posts! Thanks, as ever, for the well-picked loveliness.

  • @newly domesticated
    Oh, you must, you must! And let us know when the article is available!

    What I wouldn’t do to attend a camp like this!!!!!!!

  • I held my excited breath as I opened this page wondering which version it would be. Either way I would have been thrilled. I love love love both versions for different reasons and happily alternate watching them.

    I can’t wait to send the link to my two daughters…one in each camp. This will amuse them greatly and will most likely end in watching one or both versions sometime this weekend.

    Great job as always Amy, thank you!

  • I was so excited by your post, because I too love the 1995 and 2005 P&P adaptations (I also love the recent Persuasion adaptation starring Sally Hawkins). However, I was a bit disappointed by your embarrassed narrative. As evidenced by the influx of positive comments, you are preaching to the crowd, and I would like to think we are all entitled to our Austen obsession.
    P.s. did you love Sally Hawkins in Happy Go Lucky? Her outfits alone could inspire a “living in.”

  • Favourite movie! I also love the BBC version, and Bride and Prejudice (bollywood Jane Austin? Why not!)…and of course the book.

  • i llllloooovvvveee pride and prejudice!!!!!!!! but my favorite would have to be the BBC colin firth one because i am in love with colin firth. especially the scene where he comes out of the lake all wet….so handsome.

  • Excellent! This was an exquisite expose of the beautiful and romantic setting in P & P. I wish I could buy everything! Article was a pleasure to read and look through. Thanks!

    It is one of my favorite………………… theBBC…when watching I feel I am right there, my style, Colin, just a dream…I have enjoyed the article, a pleasure to read. Thanks

  • Out of all the fabulous Jane Austen masterpieces, P&P has always had a special place in my heart. And as for the movies, I must agree that the BBC version is the best. It stays true to the book while weaving in beautiful shots of the English countryside. And I believe Colin portrays Darcy perfectly without overdoing it. In the Knightly version Mr. Darcy is anything but handsome and is simply annoying. But Knightly does portray Elizabeth well.

  • And another thing. I have mugs that I tend to have coffee in in the mornings that say “How shall I bear so much happiness!” and “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. And a T-shirt and towel that say: “In vain I have struggled, it will not do, my feelings will not be suppressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

  • I love the mora clock they are expensive though but i suppose the price is for the history that comes with them

  • I love any Jane Austen book. I love any P&P movie. Especially the Colin Firth one. He is so handsome! I really don’t understand why Elizabeth would ever say no to him. I mean, the guy is filthy rich, lives at Pemboly, AND is beautiful! Plus he’s so bossy. Very sexy. I don’t know what her problem is.

  • Wow, these photos are breathtaking! Wish I’d found this post sooner. I really love the look of candelabra light fixtures. Thanks for all the great decor suggestions.