I’m something of an artist, and although writing consumes most of my creative energy, I still pick up a paintbrush from time to time. So, now that it’s time to produce some cover art for The Darcys of Pemberley, I’m going to try to do it myself. I’m not a master by any stretch of the imagination, but I probably know a little more about art than Catherine Morland:
The Tilneys were soon engaged in another (subject) on which she had nothing to say. They were viewing the country with the eyes of persons accustomed to drawing, and decided on its capability of being formed into pictures, with all the eagerness of real taste. Here Catherine was quite lost. She knew nothing of drawing… The little which she could understand, however, appeared to contradict the very few notions she had entertained on the matter before. It seemed as if a good view were no longer to be taken from the top of a high hill, and that a clear blue sky was no longer a proof of a fine day. She was heartily ashamed of her ignorance. (Northanger Abbey)
I just love Jane Austen’s dry humor here, as she pokes fun at the picturesque, the new aesthetic sensibility introduced into English culture in 1782 by William Gilpin.
Anyway, I plan to base my cover art painting on a view of Lyme Park (such as the one above), which serves as Pemberley in the ’95 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Seeing the house for the first time, Elizabeth Bennet says, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a place so happily situated. I like it very well indeed.”
And so do I. Gilpin might not agree, but I find it quite picturesque.