Meet Julian Ovenden, Lady Mary’s Latest Suitor
He can sing, act, dance, and woo the coldest heart in Downton.
BY ANDREA CUTTLER FEBRUARY 19, 2014 1:14 PM
I think Sybil was too much of a thinker to be happy go easy like Rose. She was questioning her privilege, her parents, and then came the war and Tom.
I don't think Mary isn't pretty, but I just don't think she has so much else going for her (well, except the money).
I'd imagine that the bulk of the clothing maintenance work required by a lady's maid, at least in terms of time, is cleaning, not mending. But that would put Baxter and Anna out the line of sight and conversation. We've seen various maids and valets in the "shoe cleaning room" a few times, but I don't think we've ever seen the Downton laundry room. Washing, drying, ironing ... all takes place somewhere hidden!
In season one, she needed a button sewn on her coat or something and came downstairs to give it to O'Brien. That's about it. Also the footman Lang I think was sewing his lordship's shirt at one point when O'Brien admired it. Remember?
Mikemba, I saw your PM. Thanks.
^ Oh yes, there's been a lot of sewing going on in that servants' hall over the years. That's the main set they've built for all the downstairs action, so it makes sense that they'd use it as much as possible. And sewing is quiet action that can be taking place while conversations are going on at the same time, so as a staging device it's very effective.
Exactly. This one is just noticeable because it's a noisy sewing machine.
I can see it for plot purposes, but it would be fun to see the servants performing other duties now and then. Gosford Park did a good job of showing a broad spectrum of duties in the space of one movie, and I know they had several retired servants acting as consultants to ensure accuracy.
For those interested in such things, especially in the kitchen, if you can get hold of the old BBC series The Victorian Kitchen, it's fascinating. For the program, they found a relic kitchen and fixed it up to the period, hired a former cook (who also happened to consult on Gosford Park), and a younger girl as the kitchenmaid. There's also a book that accompanied the series, and it was a companion to the equally interesting Victorian Kitchen Garden series, in which they followed a full year in a traditional walled garden.
Random favorite things from this week:
Isobel's bouquet from the gentleman being bigger than Violet's. Wonderful!
Isobel now has a second gentleman romantically interested in her. If one of Mary's trio drops out of the race, Isobel will move into a tie with Mary for the number of suitors.
I had thought that all of Edith's earth tone dresses of coral, peach, green, etc. couldn't be beaten, but the blue dress and hat she wore to lunch at Violet's were stunning.
Two really beautiful scenes: The simplicity of the scene of Edith and Violet in their lovely dresses sitting among all the flowers in Violet's garden was a wonderful contrast to the grand beauty of the setting of Mary's lunch with Tony.
Okay, I'm a sap: During the bazaar, my eyes filled up when I thought about the similar scenes from season one's garden party in which Sybil, William, and Matthew were all in attendance.
I love any scene with Mr. Mason and Daisy.
Likewise, the scenes with Mr. Molesley and Miss Baxter were very charming.
Further to our discussion about sewing and servant duties, I was inspired (and Olympicked out) to rewatch Gosford Park for the eleventy billionth time last night. I started with the BTS interviews etc and director Robert Altman explained something interesting.
He said that the actors in the downstairs parts knew their roles far better than he did. They had all done their research, and were working closely with the on-set consultants (a group of 80somethings who had all been in service in the 30s). All he was concerned with were making sure the key plot points were captured, but otherwise they did their thing. He said he never wanted them to just "look busy" as we are so often seeing on Downton. Instead, the effect is rich with detail - while the dialogue and action are going on, we also see the multitude of tasks performed by each servant, as well as the details of their personal lives in the house.
Interestingly too, as fans know it's essentially from the servants point of view - the upstairs characters are rarely seen without a servant present and watching everything, and the servants are constantly gossiping with one another. There's not a lot of that on Downton - the servants get all wrapped up in their own dramas, but aside from Barrow and a few other odd examples, they don't spend much time talking about what's going on upstairs (and really, would Carson and Mrs Hughes allow it? ). At any rate, it's like we have two separate stories running most of the time, and it would be nice to see more integration of plot lines beyond the upstairs men dallying with the downstairs women.
But more importantly, while the machine would be an asset in a middle class home where they might make a lot of their own clothes, or in lower class homes where it would be a source of income ... how much use would it really have in a house like Downton? I could see it being used by the servants for their own clothing, but there's no way that any of the upstairs clothes are made by Baxter or any other maids or valets. Nor is it the suitable tool for most of the maintenance/repairs the maids and valets are needing to do -- that kind of work can only be done by hand.
Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club
Old, lonely, pathos-hungry, and extremely gullible
Salon.com @Salon 41m
Watch Will Ferrell's figure skating routine, set to the "Downton Abbey" theme song. VIDEO http://slnm.us/iHcevuP
Last edited by dardar1126; 02-21-2014 at 05:44 PM.
I was thinking maybe one of those restaurants in Covent Garden but I'm not sure that's right either.