amy merrickliving in

living in: emma

by amym

Emma is the one story that stands above all others when it comes to summertime picnic perfection. Since summer is officially in full swing, I’ve got an itch to take the party outside, and Emma shows us how exquisitely. Overflowing baskets and mountains of strawberries, pretty glasses and straw hats — thanks to Jane Austen, there is no better way to dine outdoors.

1. English Willow Picnic Basket, $234; 2. Cheshire Cheese, $13.50; 3. Floppy Straw Hat, $48; 4. Strawberry Growing Kit, $13; 5. Fluted Glass, $8; 6. Grapevine Corkscrew, $32; 7. Bread Board, $56; 8. Crossroads Napkins, $16; 9. Vintage English Coffee Pot, $98; 10. Horn Cheese Knives, $58/set of 3

Even if it isn’t my all-time favorite Austen adaptation (hi, Sense and Sensibility), it’s hard not to fall under Emma Woodhouse’s spell. Flighty and self-absorbed but hopelessly well meaning, she’s the first Austen heroine who has the best of the best in beautiful things. Watching her unwittingly tangle up romances left and right is a real treat given that everything she touches is perfectly charming and the sweetest blend of fancy and country. The tents alone make you want to beg her to set you up with a suitor, even if you know she’ll only muck it up in the end.

1. Paisley Scarf, $19; 2. Bow Headband, $38; 3. Conroy & Wilcox Marie Antoinette Ring, $1920; 4. Sunflower Pitcher, $28; 5. Scroll Bistro Table, $198; 6. Floral Clippers, $13; 7. Chloe Ballet Flats, $375; 8. Antique Regency Chair, $900; 9. Serving Stand, $150; 10. Antique Writing Box

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  • I haven’t seen Emma, but this looks absolutely beautiful. I just checked and it’s an Instant Play on Netflix. Guess what I’m doing tonight!

  • Oh, I just love this movie. You’re right, it’s perfect when it comes to displaying summertime picnics :)

  • “I love John, I hate John!” Hearts and stars for this movie (ok, so not the truest adaptation, but I just love it all the same). Where is my Knightly in shining armor?

  • Love the picnic basket! This is one of my favorite movies – although watching it always makes me think about how much I want to wear empire waist dresses and how absolutely awful I look in them. Ha! Thanks for the awesome Living In post.

  • OOOOOH it is SUCH a conundrum I have, trying to decide which ‘Emma’ adaptation I love better, the Gwynnie version or the Kate Beckinsale version. I think I have to ultimately go with Gwynnie. Thanks so much for this very lovely post!!

  • This is one of my favorite movies – the hair, the clothes, the romance. Swoon. I had a whole season of my life where everything was “Emma” – the empire wastes, the delicate heirloom jewelry, shawls, updo’s with soft curls, lace, oh how I love thee.

  • Although I’m usually pretty annoyed by Gwynnie, I must admit I love this adaptation. It might not be 100% faithful, but the light touch and humor perfectly suits the low-stakes drama in Emma. And the Mrs. E is so wonderfully awful. A great post for the first day of summer!! Makes me want to lie outside on a blanket and read the book :)

  • This totally put a smile on my face because I often daydream I am living in movies like Emma, having picnics and walking through the fields picking flowers. Such a lovely collection. :)

  • Great choice for a Living In post – so beautiful! However, I have to promote the newer BBC version of Emma which completely blows this one away! Romola Garai gives depth and humanity to Emma, winning over even the most egalitarian of viewers, in a way that Paltrow just can’t hack.

  • I love all the Austen books…I actually took the first image and drew and illustration from it. I love her look in the film and the costumes are amazing i wish we still dressed like that sometimes.

  • Great! Now I totally want to host a picnic in the early 19th century! And how am I supposed to do that, Design Sponge, hmmm? HOW I ask you. That’s what you get for inspiring me.

  • Well done, it does make me want to live in Emma! I do like the BBC version better though, I think it’s my preference for Johnny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley…

  • While I agree that the performers in the new BBC version are better, too, the decor at Hartfield is what draws me in every time. It’s a must see!

  • Delicious! We had a strawberry-picking day today, which always puts one in this sort of mood! Perfect post for today. Thanks for the smiles.

  • my wedding dress was designed to resemble the white dress she’s wearing in a few of these photos and, on my wedding day, i had my hair similarly styled, to boot. it’s a visually lovely film, and i (obviously) adored and was inspired by the styling and costumes. we just celebrated 13 years of marriage, and so this is wonderfully nostalgic.

  • The only word I can think of to describe this film is LOVELY. It’s just so lovely. I want to be on that blanket wearing a long flowing dress and a hat while sipping tea with Gwynth Paltrow. Sounds….. lovely.

  • oh, i am going to have to watch this one again for the set decoration. the bbc version is exquisite, but i also don’t recall a profusion of picnicking delights to rival this. i will be studying your deconstruction carefully for my next picnic. the baskets! oh! that’s the way to do things. good old fashioned stuff. of course having an extra servant or two to lug the bottles and baskets up the hill would be helpful too. x

  • My absolute favorite movie…I love everything about, in my garden endeavors I always have thoughts of Emma. Wonderful film!

  • I just went through all the old (posted) Living Ins and can’t believe you haven’t covered “Practical Magic.” The kitchen is to die for!

  • Did anyone find out any information on the tent? Wonder if I could make one myself…

  • I find the details and mood of Emma – so lovely, civilized and polite. The tent is one item I would love to find. No search on the internet has found anything like it. Hit the play button one more time…