Our Sunday night obsession is back and I, for one, could not be happier. Written by Julian Fellows of Gosford Park fame, the award winning “Downton Abbey” series is addictive. The compelling tale centers upon a British aristocratic family living in a spectacular manor house refrered to only as “Downton.” The story begins in the Edwardian years 0f 1901-1910 before the first World War and follows the family and their staff through harrowing years of the war and beyond.
The series has a” downstairs upstairs” aspect to it as well. While we watch the family interact at formal dinners served by liveried footmen in white tie, we also follow the conversation of the loyal staff as they take their meals around the kitchen table downstairs. All of them are proud to be in service to the Lord and Lady Grantham and their three daughters, Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and Lady Sybil.
The real life Downton Abbey is Highclere Castle in Berkshire, and the elegant interior and exterior shots of the manor house and parkland setting are enough to keep you coming back for more. Throw in the handsome Matthew Crawley, the fantastic fashion costumes worn by Lady Grantham and her three daughters, and the amazing Dame Maggie Smith as Violet, the Dowager Countess, and you have all the ingredients for the most successful British period drama of all time.
The aristocratic style of Downton Abbey has apparently influenced everything from spending habits, to fashion, home furnishings and interior design. The Today Show,reported that sales of World War I history books and etiquette books are way up due to the shows popularity. In the world of fashion you see the “Downton” influence in the emergence of empire waistlines, ladylike lingerie (all the women in the series take breakfast in bed wearing amazing lingerie), elbow length gloves, maxi dresses, fur stoles, and elaborate “Edwardian” style jewelry with filigree and faceted stones.
The runway trends inspired by “Downton” this year were influenced by equestrian and British hunting party chic. The classic formal fox hunting attire that showed up on the runway included impeccably tailored hunting coats and starched white stock ties, as well as proper tweed shooting ensembles influenced by the formal English pheasant shooting scenes.
The Edwardian period started a new century: there was a new king, and along with him, a new style. The heavy furniture and cluttered rooms of the Victorian years gave way to a lighter and more cheerful interior. Furniture styles were influenced by Sheraton, Chippendale, and Queen Anne. There were Baroque, Rococo, and Empire influences as well.
Think wing chairs covered in chintz or pale colored damasks, feminine flowery patterns, and colors like light blue, greens and yellows. White or cream walls and pale covered furniture were accented with formal flower arrangements in every room. Dinner tables were set formally with all of the the family’s fine china, crystal and silver. It was a time to show off your finery and your wealth.
Downton showcases “A romantic time of gracious living” and like everything we are exposed to in pop culture and on television, it influences our style, tastes, and spending choices. For over 25 years Kaminski Auctions has provided our customers with wonderful estate silver, china, porcelain, furniture, and decorative pieces that epitomize “Downton” style and gracious living.
At our monthly estate and DéCoR auctions you will find everything you need to create your own “Downton Style.” Imagine yourself as Lady Grantham sitting at this wonderful Edwardian fancy ladies dressing table with mirror (Lot #8074) in our February Estate sale.
Or putting on this beautiful gold, pearl and ruby necklace (Lot# 9161),
Imagine Carson overseeing the dining room set for a formal dinner. The long mahogany table surrounded with shield back dining chairs (Lot #9167),
and the table gleaming with silver candlesticks and other table accessories, (Lot #8232) and (Lot#8156).
and lovely Stuben crystal stemware, (Lot#9070), complete the picture perfect dinner table.
The sideboard (Lot#9171) is brimming with silver trays of Mrs. Patmore’s food
and decanters (Lot #9319) of wine.
We here at Kaminski Auctions embrace this return to gracious living and our offerings each month can help you bring a little bit of “Downton style” into your modern decor. Sign up for our monthly emails and Décor blog at www.kaminskiauctions.com so you don’t miss a sale and tune in every Sunday evening to Masterpiece Classics’ Downton Abbey. (All lots shown available in our February Estate Sale, Sunday, February 10th starting at 10:00 am. For more information go www.kaminskiauctions.com.