Image from: http://bbc.in/dEvv51
Forgive me the clichéd title – I could think of nothing better to describe my learnings from Part One of At Home with the Georgians.
The documentary shows the historian, Professor Amanda Vickery delving into family histories from the Georgian era. In the series, she discusses the significance of having a home of your own and what it meant for the men and women of the Georgian era. For her research, Vickery visits houses both grand and modest and reads through the letters and account books of Georgians.
From the first episode, I have learnt the following about the Georgians:
1) A home would define an individual’s status in society and be a matter of pride.
2) Like Jane Austen, the Georgians in general were very transparent about money and property, with open directories displaying the funds of eligible bachelors.
3) If you were a spinster dependent on family support or a bachelor, you would be an object of ridicule and lead a lonely life, perhaps ending up either depressed or drinking.
4) Everyone wanted to be married, and had a clear idea of what a good wife or husband would be.
5) A good husband would have a good income and a comfortable home to offer his wife. He would appreciate his wife’s wishes and taste, and give her a lot of power in the running of the household.
6) A good wife would be an efficient manager of the home, a multi-tasker, who would also have the energy to be good in bed.
7) Only in a comfortable home would you feel you had achieved your aim in life and be able to lead a productive, happy life – like Jane Austen at her permanent home in Chawton.
I enjoyed watching Vickery’s visit to Chawton Cottage. I also had the chance to look into Chawton House, which I have yet to see from inside. A grand house indeed!
The first episode is a fascinating account of the Georgian lifestyle and domestic values. The dramatisation pieces make the documentary all the more interesting to watch, and Vickery’s humour and expressive face make it personal for viewers. A real treat for any history lover – or a new history lover for that matter, as this documentary truly makes history come alive.
For a more thorough recount of the episode, you could visit the following blogs: