Where my JAFF heart is

Where my JAFF heart is

I thought I’d finish the country house tour, for the time being at least, where my JAFF heart is: in Derbyshire – to me, the most beautiful place in the world.

High Peak
Derbyshire, north of Buxton; photo Joana Starnes

There is majesty and beauty in the High Peak, with its unspoilt views over rust-coloured hills that turn purple when heather is in bloom, and Snake’s Pass is both awe-inspiring and forbidding.

Chatsworth crystal
Photo Joana Starnes

There is awe-inspiring beauty up towards Castleton and Peveril Castle, in an area famous for its minerals, such as the well-known blue-john, extracted and fashioned into exquisite ornaments – or displayed in all its rough glory, as is the case in the gallery at Chatsworth.



Sadly I have no photos of petrified spars like the ones Elizabeth thought of collecting when she was told that her aunt and uncle could not go as far as the Lakes and they would have to contend themselves with Derbyshire. 

“But surely I may enter his county with impunity and rob it of a few petrified spars without his perceiving me.” (Pride & Prejudice)

I love this little paragraph, by the way. To me it shows that, if she was thinking of collecting mementoes from his part of the world like a teenage with a crush, Elizabeth was starting to fall in love with Mr Darcy long before she knew it, and long before she saw his beautiful grounds at Pemberley and thus came to understand what sort of a man he was, a good landlord, brother, master.

But to return to Derbyshire, I don’t know about you, but the White Peak appeals to me the most, with its gently rolling hills and mellow green slopes crisscrossed by stone walls. It looks welcoming and prosperous, rather than dark and forbidding. It looks, moreover, just like the land around Pemberley might look, with sheep grazing at leisure while the lord and master is riding somewhere on his estate to see what needs doing, like a good landlord should.

White Peak all
Derbyshire; photos Joana Starnes

A very dear friend said that if we visit Pemberley perhaps Mr Darcy would ask us in for tea 🙂

Lyme Park; photo Joana Starnes

I told her that judging by my muddy boots and apparel, I’d be lucky if I get invited for tea with Mrs Reynolds. And my boots were truly in a state after traipsing over Mr Darcy’s grounds.

Mr D's grounds all
Mr Darcy’s grounds; photos Joana Starnes

Sadly, I couldn’t have tea with either, but I still felt very, very lucky because, for the first time in all my visits to Lyme Park, I discovered that now indoor digital photography is allowed. So, until you get to visit for yourselves, do feast your eyes on all this beauty.

LP all text
Lyme Park; photos Joana Starnes

When Pride and Prejudice 1995 was filmed, for a variety of reasons the team could not use the Lyme Park interiors. In case you’re wondering what the background of some of the scenes might have looked like if they were allowed, have a look:

LvS Music room
Music room


LvS Gallery
Long Gallery


LvS Bedroom
Mr Darcy’s bedroom


LvS Study
Library – Mr Darcy’s study

What do you think? Would Mr Darcy’s bedroom have looked more impressive in dark oak rather than red silk? How about the music room or the gallery? Somehow, I personally can’t help thinking that it was a blessing in disguise that the interiors had to be filmed elsewhere. The exquisite Grinling Gibbons sculptures in the music room at Lyme Park are out of this world, the dining room is majestic and the Tudor splendour of the drawing room took my breath away when I first saw it. But I think the frothy and bright Sudbury Hall interiors, with the marvellously intricate plasterwork, have actually worked wonders for the 1995 adaptation, and were truly fitting to the light, bright and sparkling quality of the novel.

I said this before, I think it’s rather special that Pemberley 1995 is a patchwork of beautiful features found in different places and, to some extent, I think we all do that. Squirrel away details that caught our eye and weave our own interpretation with what we like best. The Pemberley of my Pride and Prejudice variations is a patchwork too. Sudbury Hall interiors, Lyme Park façade, the wonderful print-room from Calke covered in 18th century caricatures, the wonderfully warm and welcoming Calke Abbey library, hints of Basildon Park, Haddon Hall, Lacock and Charlecotte. I look for Pemberley in every country house I visit and it’s always a delight to find it.

Even more so because the story I am writing at the moment is based almost entirely at Pemberley. If you come back next month to read my May blog post I’m hoping to have more news about the release date, an excerpt and a giveaway. Hope you liked the Derbyshire glimpses and please come back soon!

40 Responses to Where my JAFF heart is

  1. Love your photos. Because the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice is the only version watched too many times to count, Lyme Park is the only Pemberley I see when reading any of the JAFF stories. I never see Chatsworth in my minds eye. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for the feast for my eyes! And I fully agree with you: Lyme Part interiors are beautiful, but I like to think that Pemberley would have had bright and light interior of Sudbury Hall. You are going to release new book? And with Elizaveth’s bigger share of torture? Ohhhh, I need to quickly finish a few books and stories I am curently reading to leave my time and imagination exclusively for your new book!:) Look forward to new details about its release, cover, title, everything you care to share with us.

    • Thanks ever so much for the kind words and the vote of confidence!! Yes, Rita from ‘From Pemberley to Milton’ and Claudine from ‘Just Jane’ got me thinking that I’ve tortured poor Darcy for long enough and now it’s Elizabeth’s turn. It’s actually going to be open season on torturing Elizabeth in both my upcoming books 🙂 The first is coming out by the end of May and the next hopefully in November. Hope you’ll like them both. Thanks ever so much for the lovely comment and do come back next Wednesday for an excerpt and a giveaway.

      • I am sooooo looking forward to both your releases! Good luck with the publication and the releases.

  3. What a remarkable visit and what good fortune that you so generously shared it with us? I can see Darcy and Elizbeth sitting in Darcy’s study, perhaps chatting over a correspondence and discussing their plans for the week. Oh, to be there one day… I know I keep saying that, but the heart wants what the heart wants!

    I love your photographs and I can’t wait until you share an upcoming excerpt! Glad you’re enjoying some writing time.

    • Oh, yes. Whenever I go, I see them there all the time! It’s wonderful that most of Sudbury is still furnished. I wish the saloon-music room was too, and that the little drawing room had Regency furniture like the props on loan for the adaptation, rather than much modern cotton prints on the sofas, but it can’t be helped.

      I do hope you can get here sometime and that the heart gets what it wants 🙂 Thanks for the lovely comment & so glad you liked the post!

  4. Wonderful Joana ? You increased my desire to visit Lyme Park and Sudburry Hall tenfold. New and enhanced motivation for coming September ??
    And the hint to your new novel… very promising. Knowing you it’ll be heaven and hell. Pray, do you have your usual torture in store for Darcy?

    • Hi, Christin
      Hugs and lovely to see you here! Yes, you MUST go to Derbyshire and the sooner the better.
      LOL that knowing me it’ll be heaven and hell 😀 Thanks. I try 😉
      And nah, this time it’s Elizabeth’s turn. And in the next one too. Darcy’s having only a tiny share, thought it was time to even it up a little.
      Thanks for the lovely comment and see you soon!

  5. I’ve finally made time to read this wonderful post, Joana. I’m now feeling extremely jealous of your trip! Thanks so much for all of the amazing photos, both here and on FB.

  6. Wonderful Photos, Joana! Now I’m a little sad I won’t time to visit Derbyshire when I’m there in the fall. This is going on my bucket list!

  7. Wonderful, wonderful photos and tour! You are so very fortunate to be there and so very awesome to share with us when we can’t be there! Thank you!

  8. I’m green with jealousy and panting in desire! I want to go to Pemberley! (Said in a very Lydia-like voice). Amazing post and pics as always. Sigh. If I can’t have Pemberley can I at least have Mrs. Reynolds? The housework is piling up.

    • Thanks, Rose, SO glad!!! Hope we can go to all the Pemberleys together one day. LOL re the housework & Mrs Reynolds. Guess why I took photos of my outdoor writing spots for the ‘Where do Austen Authors write?’ post a while back 😀

  9. I love to look at the pictures. A real tour would be the only thing better! Thanks for showing them to me.

  10. Thanks for sharing the lovely pictures, Joana! That truly is an incredible and beautiful building, not that those words do it justice. I’m so glad you were able to get interior shots. I have wondered for a long time what it looks like inside. 🙂

    • A bit dark overall, too much dark panelling IMO, but the drawing room, music room and dining room are out of this world and the nursery ever so sweet! So glad you liked the photos and thanks for popping by to have a look 🙂

  11. Love all the photos and I know we don’t really have a good view of them which is only in being there. Thank you for sharing. I love the 1995 version. And when I read all the books with their descriptions I find i can’t really imagine it all as I am not familiar with the names of all those features. So I just read on. But the photos and films stay in my imagination. Lucky you to be able to visit them so often and lucky us that you share! Thanks…again. Looking forward to your next book.

    • With the greatest pleasure, Sheila! I only wish I was brave enough to trample through the mud and get to Mr Darcy’s pond too 🙂 Nice to leave something for the next time, although chances are I’ll probably stare adoringly at the building again.

      I try to cajole the family into going to Derbyshire and it’s nice there are plenty of things to attract them too, cycling, hill-walking, the lot, and whenever we leave my husband keeps being surprised that I HAVE to stop at Sudbury Hall on the way, even though it’s in the middle of nowhere and we always get lost. This time he asked ‘You’ve seen it several times, why would you want to go again? Aaaah, it’s the interiors of your film. OK, I get it.” He does get me. How he puts up with me is the puzzle 😀

      • Living here in the USA my husband doesn’t have to put up with exactly that but he used to tell the children (when they were small) just to put up with Mom (taking her time at all the historic spots, i.e. Williamsburg, VA) as that is what she likes. Even in 2004 when we visited GB he would stand at the one end of a bedroom in whichever palace or manor we were visiting and cross his arms and just stare at me…as if that would hurry me along…LOL

    • So glad you liked the photos, Eva. They were, weren’t they 🙂 I heard the staircase used to be painted dark brown to mimic oak, but so glad that the National Trust people returned it to that gorgeous white.

  12. Lovely post Joana. It’s such a beautiful estate. I don’t go as often as I should although when I drove past on Sunday the car’s were queuing right down the A6 just waiting to get onto the drive which was completely blocked. If I win the lottery I think I might buy it ???

    • You and me both, Glynis 🙂 My dream is to move to your neck of the woods and volunteer there. Nice payback for all the times when I drove the volunteers crazy because i wouldn’t get out of there till I got a sunny and people-free shot.

  13. I agree with you Joana, that a composite of all these beautiful places make it so much better! I think each of them brings something unique to the story of Pride and Prejudice. I happen to picture Chatsworth as my Pemberley, but I also love Lyme Park and Sudbury Hall. Thank you so much for all the pictures. Seeing them lets me pretend I am actually there! Wonderful!

    • I know that Chatsworth is your Pemberley, Brenda, and you picture it so beautifully in your wonderful novels! I think the beauty of it is that we can all read exquisite JAFF and build our own cast and set and love it all the more for it 🙂
      Thanks for your lovely comment, you’re always so kind! Hugs and all the best!

  14. You have taken us on a wonderful journey this morning. With your photos and descriptions, I was able to travel [vicariously] while still in PJs and my 1st cup of coffee. What a delightful surprise to see what the blog was for today. Oh, thank goodness the ban on digital photography had been lifted.

    Many times locations, houses like Pemberley and counties like Derbyshire become as important a character in a work as Darcy and Elizabeth. Look at how we [JAFF lovers] fell absolutely and completely in love with Pemberley and Derbyshire. Mainly I think that is because Darcy so loved Pemberley. In most JAFF variations…Darcy visibly relaxes when he comes home. He and Pemberley are one…they represent home.

    It is amazing how so many segments were filmed in different locations for the 1995 film. I suppose the many parts make up the whole of the story/film. Enjoy your travels my dear…thanks for the adventure this morning.

    • So glad you liked the trip, Jeanne! YES!!! The ban’s been lifted! There I was, going in to show my NT card and I asked if I could take a photo of the exquisite fireplace they have in reception (who knows when it might come in handy) and began by saying ‘I know i can’t take photos in the house but….’ BUT I nearly fainted when the lady said I could!

      It’s a beautiful place, so gorgeous, so loved. By the family who lived there and us JAFF lovers. Can you imagine it’s been in the same family for 600 years? 600! Sad they had to go. Maybe we could have had our Pemberley even with the owners in residence. Anyway…

      You’re so right about us all loving Pemberley so much because Darcy does. A wonderful friend I made on the JAFF waves said something beautiful in an email a while back: that, when D & E met by accident at Pemberley, if he would have laid himself open to admiration & inspection as Pemberley was to visitors, she would have fallen in love with him then and there 🙂

      Have a great day and thanks for coming on the trip with me!

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