Jane Austen Room
This room is named after the famous 19th century novelist, Jane Austen. After her brother married into the family, Austen spent many a day at the Goodnestone estate; she was often invited for dinner or dancing.It is easy to surmise that the double wedding of Edward Austen and Elizabeth Bridges with William Deedes and Elizabeth’s sister Sophia which took place in 1791 was the inspiration for the double wedding in Pride & Prejudice, started shortly after a stay at Goodnestone.
“We dined at Goodnestone and in the evening danced two country dances and the Boulangeries. I opened the ball with Edward Bridges … we supped there and walked home [to Rowling] at night under the shade of two umbrellas.” – Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, 1796
The aristocratic society she experienced at Goodnestone is thought to have inspired the very premise of Pride and Prejudice. Indeed, she began to write the famous novel in 1796, shortly after returning from a visit to the estate. Her fame is often deemed posthumous and, being the daughter of a clergyman, she likely experienced little of the higher class society that she satirises so frequently. Knowledge of this world is likely to have been gained on visits to places such as Goodnestone.
Edward and Elizabeth lived in a house on the Goodnestone Estate until 1812. They moved to the nearby Godmersham when Edward’s adoptive father, Thomas Knight, died. On her visits, Jane Austen enjoyed walking across the estate. The route she is likely to have walked to Edward’s home, Rowling, is replicated in the recently re-introduced Serpentine Walk. This route was first created in the 1760s. She described how ‘very great was my pleasure’ in walking it in an 1805 letter.
Set against a majestic background of the east-facing parterre and surrounding gardens, this first floor reception room provides the perfect location for getting ready for a wedding, or simply relaxing in modern luxury whilst enjoying the stunning view and authentic furnishings. Indeed, as Jane Austen herself once wrote, ‘Ah, there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort’, and this is exactly what this home provides. Most of Jane Austen’s novels can be found in a book-case in this room. These are accompanied by the Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott, a favourite author of hers.
The pink floral colour scheme in the Jane Austen Room makes for a tranquil environment, with numerous settees and comfortable armchairs creating a haven of relaxation. The original Georgian fireplace and portrait above it of Margaretta, the first wife of the 1st Baronet, are constant reminders of the innumerable unforgotten tales contained within the very walls of this historical paradigm.
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