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Posts Tagged ‘Dominic Cooper’

This is very tenuously linked from my last post, but one of the exhibitions they had on at Chatsworth featured the costumes from ‘The Duchess’ which starred Keira Knightley and Dominic Cooper who we also know as Mr Willoughby, of course. I think this era and the Regency period have to be my favourite for costume – I’m not sure I would have enjoyed being trussed up in all that stuff on a daily basis, though when I was much younger, I did dress up in similar costumes for Fancy Dress parties. I’ve always loved dressing up!
The paintings I’m posting today came about after a trip to the Lakes. We visited Beatrix Potter’s house at Hill Top and of course, I felt so inspired when I visited her husband’s office where so many of her exquisite paintings are kept. Whilst I could never hope to aspire to Mrs Heelis’s excellence with a brush, I hope you enjoy them. They are just a few of the paintings I did with a children’s book in mind – never finished, but as with so many things, I probably got side-tracked!




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Here are two Mr Willoughbys for your delight! Greg Wise and Dominic Cooper star in recent productions – I wonder which was your favourite?
After Marianne’s accident when Willoughby scoops her up into his arms and carries her home the whole family are eager to learn about the handsome man who has behaved so gallantly. I love the way Jane Austen only gives us tantalising glimpses at Willoughby’s character through Sir John Middleton’s eyes. Willoughby is a good huntsman and rider and as far as Sir John is concerned there is no higher recommendation than a young man who enjoys sport and can dance all night. Of course hearing that Willoughby dances with elegance and spirit makes him all the more interesting to Marianne!

Sir John called on them as soon as the next interval of fair weather that morning allowed him to get out of doors; and Marianne’s accident being related to him, he was eagerly asked whether he knew any gentleman of the name of Willoughby at Allenham.

“Willoughby!” cried Sir John; “what, is he in the country? That is good news, however; I will ride over to-morrow, and ask him to dinner on Thursday.”

“You know him then,” said Mrs. Dashwood. “Know him! to be sure I do. Why, he is down here every year.”

“And what sort of a young man is he?” “As good a kind of fellow as ever lived, I assure you. A very decent shot, and there is not a bolder rider in England.”

“And is that all you can say for him?” cried Marianne, indignantly. “But what are his manners on more intimate acquaintance? What his pursuits, his talents and genius?”

Sir John was rather puzzled.

“Upon my soul,” said he, “I do not know much about him as to all that. But he is a pleasant, good humoured fellow, and has got the nicest little black bitch of a pointer I ever saw. Was she out with him to-day?”

But Marianne could no more satisfy him as to the colour of Mr. Willoughby’s pointer than he could describe to her the shades of his mind.

“But who is he?” said Elinor. “Where does he come from? Has he a house at Allenham?”

On this point Sir John could give more certain intelligence; and he told them that Mr. Willoughby had no property of his own in the country; that he resided there only while he was visiting the old lady at Allenham Court, to whom he was related, and whose possessions he was to inherit; adding, “Yes, yes, he is very well worth catching, I can tell you, Miss Dashwood; he has a pretty little estate of his own in Somersetshire besides; and if I were you, I would not give him up to my younger sister in spite of all this tumbling down hills. Miss Marianne must not expect to have all the men to herself. Brandon will be jealous, if she does not take care.”

“I do not believe,” said Mrs. Dashwood, with a good humoured smile, “that Mr. Willoughby will be incommoded by the attempts of either of my daughters towards what you call catching him. It is not an employment to which they have been brought up. Men are very safe with us, let them be ever so rich. I am glad to find, however, from what you say, that he is a respectable young man, and one whose acquaintance will not be ineligible.”

“He is as good a sort of fellow, I believe, as ever lived,” repeated Sir John. “I remember last Christmas, at a little hop at the Park, he danced from eight o’clock till four, without once sitting down.”

“Did he indeed?” cried Marianne, with sparkling eyes, “and with elegance, with spirit?”

“Yes; and he was up again at eight to ride to covert.”

“That is what I like; that is what a young man ought to be. Whatever be his pursuits, his eagerness in them should know no moderation, and leave him no sense of fatigue.”

“Aye, aye, I see how it will be,” said Sir John, “I see how it will be. You will be setting your cap at him now, and never think of poor Brandon.”

“That is an expression, Sir John,” said Marianne warmly, “which I particularly dislike. I abhor every common-place phrase by which wit is intended; and ‘setting one’s cap at a man,’ or ‘making a conquest,’ are the most odious of all. Their tendency is gross and illiberal; and if their construction could ever be deemed clever, time has long ago destroyed all its ingenuity.”

Sir John did not much understand this reproof; but he laughed as heartily as if he did, and then replied, –

“Aye, you will make conquests enough, I dare say, one way or other. Poor Brandon! he is quite smitten already, and he is very well worth setting your cap at, I can tell you, in spite of all this tumbling about and spraining of ankles.”

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I thought you might like to see some of the photos I took at Chatsworth of the exhibition they have on about Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. As well as personal items and letters there are costumes from the film ‘The Duchess’ which stars Keira Knightley as Georgiana, Ralph Fiennes as the Duke and Dominic Cooper who we’ve seen before as Mr Willoughby playing Georgiana’s lover, Charles Grey. I thought the costumes in this film were particularly fabulous – the designer Michael O’Connor did a wonderful job! They had a little section about the filming of Pride and Prejudice with some photographs and the bust of Mr Darcy is also displayed – the nearest I got to finding him, I’m afraid. Still, best of all I got to see my husband don a wig in their dressing up room which is really fun. You can try on wigs and costumes whatever your age – I think he looks rather gorgeous in it!




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I watched the lovely BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility yesterday for the umpteenth time. I really love this version quite as much as the Emma Thompson/Ang Lee version. Colonel Brandon played by David Morrissey, gets it just right, I think, and I like the way that Andrew Davies, the writer of the screenplay, shows us little windows into his character, showing him as a suitor prepared to wait for Marianne’s affection, hinting at their shared interests, and giving Marianne some very good reasons to fall in love with him.
Jane Austen really glosses over the last stage of their courtship, which has left some of us wondering how on earth she managed to end up with him. There is something a little unsatisfactory, for me, in the way this is wrapped up.

Marianne Dashwood was born to an extraordinary fate. She was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, and to counteract, by her conduct, her most favourite maxims. She was born to overcome an affection formed so late in life as at seventeen, and with no sentiment superior to strong esteem and lively friendship, voluntarily to give her hand to another! – and that other, a man who had suffered no less than herself under the event of a former attachment, – whom, two years before, she had considered too old to be married, – and who still sought the constitutional safeguard of a flannel waistcoat!

But so it was. Instead of falling a sacrifice to an irresistible passion, as once she had fondly flattered herself with expecting, – instead of remaining even for ever with her mother, and finding her only pleasures in retirement and study, as afterwards in her more calm and sober judgment she had determined on, – she found herself, at nineteen, submitting to new attachments, entering on new duties, placed in a new home, a wife, the mistress of a family, and the patroness of a village.

Colonel Brandon was now as happy as all those who best loved him believed he deserved to be; – in Marianne he was consoled for every past affliction; – her regard and her society restored his mind to animation, and his spirits to cheerfulness; and that Marianne found her own happiness in forming his, was equally the persuasion and delight of each observing friend. Marianne could never love by halves; and her whole heart became, in time, as much devoted to her husband, as it had once been to Willoughby.

Charity Wakefield was a super Marianne – I have to confess to crying when she receives the letters back from Willoughby. I do wonder why Marianne is always depicted with blonde hair. Charity Wakefield is a brunette and would have been far more in keeping with Austen’s idea of Marianne had she been allowed to be herself, in my opinion. I know she doesn’t specifically say dark hair, but with dark eyes and very brown skin, surely her hair was dark too! Anyway, I thought she gave a terrific performance, as did Hattie Morahan who was perfectly cast as Elinor.

This is what Austen says about Marianne’s description.
Her form, though not so correct as her sister’s, in having the advantage of height, was more striking; and her face was so lovely, that when, in the common cant of praise, she was called a beautiful girl, truth was less violently outraged than usually happens. Her skin was very brown, but from its transparency, her complexion was uncommonly brilliant; her features were all good; her smile was sweet and attractive; and in her eyes, which were very dark, there was a life, a spirit, an eagerness which could hardly be seen without delight.

Finally, Dominic Cooper was the epitome of bad boy Willoughby, and in this production I liked the way you could see how Marianne was going to be attracted to him, whilst also knowing right from the start that he is not to be trusted. Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars was a little too good looking, but hey, who’s complaining? I think the inclusion of scenes that Austen did not expand on was inspired – I particularly liked the scene where Willoughby takes Marianne around Allenham. I’d already written this scene as a flashback in my new book, Willoughby’s Return, and though not quite exactly the same, it’s very similar – a scene which shows us Marianne’s vulnerability and naivity. It was a joy to write.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable production and DVD, which I know I shall wear out before too long!

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