Pride, Prejudice & Pohutakawa Trees

Theresa was in town recently, and you know what that means!  Dress ups!  And photoshoots!

For this photoshoot we wore Regency, because the pohutakawa (the New Zealand christmas tree) were in full bloom, and I think my 1813 Kashmiri gown works beautifully with the blaze of red blooms.  Also it was too hot to think of anything that involved full corsets and layers of undergarments.

This time we did something a little bit different, and Mr D came along and was our photographer, so (for once) we have lots of gorgeous photos of the two of us together.

With two ladies in Regency wandering around a garden it’s impossible not to make Jane Austen themed commentary about the photos.  In doing this I’ve realised an unfortunate problem with Austen: other than Lizzie and Jane from Pride & Prejudice, there are no sets of two females that a pair of friends would really be happy to be.  Emma is insufferable, her friends silly. Fanny is a prig, her associates terrible.  Anne is great but none of the other females in her novel are.  I suppose Catherine and Eleanor are OK, but they are so young.  And Elinor and Marianne, are, once again, sisters.  Also, Marianne?  No thanks.

So, sisters or  not, we can be Lizzie & Jane for the evening (with the actual allocation of parts left  unspecified), enjoying the garden and the exotic pohutakawa trees before heading out for a ball – perhaps at Netherfield?  They probably have all that time to spend in the garden because they were ready hours before Kitty found her lost ribbon and Lydia decided what frock to wear.

Regency dresses

Regency dresses

Regency dresses






  1. OMG, these photos are glorious! (I haven’t yet managed to look through all the ones you gave me.) The Maxfield Parrish one at the end is my supreme favorite.

    Thanks, as always, for letting me model your clothes whenever I visit. It’s always a highlight of my trip to Wellington, and well worth leaving suspicious gaps in my schedule for. 😉

  2. It’s lovely. No matter who you are. That last picture? That’s just perfection. And it’s so nice to see more of your Regency clothes!

    It’s strange, but true. There really are few good friends in Austen’s books. In fact, I have trouble coming up with examples who are not sisters, in general – the first book that comes to mind is Anne of Green Gables, much later. Not that I’m that well-read in 19th century women’s literature, mind you.
    (Also, yes on Marianne, but on the other hand, I’m not entirely sold on Elinor, either, even though I often found myself relating when I last read it. That whole book was suddenly way too cynical for my liking. Emma, while not so relatable, was more fun, maybe precisely because Austen intentionally pokes fun at her?)

    • Elise says

      Clarissa and…oh, what is her friend’s name? Mid 18th-century, difficult book, written by a guy, so maybe it doesn’t count.

      • Aranna says

        You means Clarisse Harlowe and miss Howe maybe ?

  3. Irene says

    Ya’ll look great! And I absolutely love that last picture of you!

  4. Elise says

    Yay! I got my job teaching college, again. I bring this up because I see so many of Austen’s heroines in my students, and I think that it is so much fun. Elinor and Marianne are exactly what two ladies 17 and 19 should be like, as is Emma at 20.

    What about Anne and the Admiral’s wife? Maybe not equal ages, but respectful, nonetheless. Elinor comes to find much worth in Mrs. Jennings and values her friendship deeply come the end of the book.

    Funny…you are right, there are few women of equal ages. It must be hard in a small town.

  5. Lynne says

    We are so lucky to live in this age of easy travel and even easier communications. In Austen’s time, your circle of friends was mostly limited to the people who lived within walking distance, and in the country, the choice was narrow. Lizzie and Jane were fortunate – even sisters were not always close friend material.

    No wonder people wrote letters madly to people they were fond of.

    You both look beautiful. The light and the setting is perfect, and Mr D. made an excellent job!

    • Lynne says

      And, oh, my goodness! My comment just flicked up so quickly, without all the drama of waiting to see if it had timed out or been eaten by cyber-monsters! I rejoice in the reformed page!

  6. *squee* I love your outfits so much, I wish I could get this kind of dress to suit me but no matter what I try they just end up making me look pregnant, I guess it’s just not meant to be my era :/

  7. I liked Elinor, but I adored her youngest sister, Margaret I think? I love that she was a tomboy when it was frowned upon and that she wanted to go to India.
    I do love your photoshoot, and hope my finished outfit looks as good as yours do; just starting on the stays now.

    • Elise says

      I aspired to be Elinor, but am just as impulsive and emotional as Marianne. Margaret I always found annoying and in the way, which isn’t very generous of me. See? Again, I’ll never be as cool as Elinor.

  8. Maire Smith says

    Anne and Mrs Harville? Or even Anne and Mrs Smith?

  9. Frl.Löwenzahn says

    Cathrine Moreland and Mrs Allen? I like the old lady rather much. Miss Tilney I like too. She’s rather friendly and tries to see good in anyone, but is not afraid to see her own elder brother in a bad light.

    I never understood the hate for Fanny everywhere. Nobody seems to like her. “Boring” is the nicest word I can find. She has her faults, to be sure, like not liking stupid people. She doesn’t like Mary Crawford – and she is right about that! Even IF Mary is nice to her, she wishes death upon a man, so she can marry the brother and still live in style.
    I’ve known people who were raised to be “grateful” all the time and to feel “less” then the people they grew up with. That is hard. It does things to soul.
    Fanny is often a doormat, as she was raised to be. She simply can’t afford to rebel as easily as we can today. And do not forget, she is 18 at the end of the novel. But in the end stays true to herself, even against “duty” and “reason”. I liked that. I am not a huge fan of the series and the movies. But in the book I like her. She had the far worst childhood of all of Austen’s heroines with no real confidante. (Even Anne had someone, even if her godmother’s advice is questionable.)
    Today, fashion calls for outgoing and self-confident people, but I like the shy and socially awkward ones too.

    • Elise says

      I always felt bad for Fanny, although Austen’s mother was right to call her ‘insipid.’ But even insipid people deserve a chance at happiness and respect. They remind me of the ‘nice’ girl in school, practically invisible, dependable, often taken for granted. Of course, those are the ones I am the happiest for when I peek back into my old high school friends’ lives on Facebook.

      And you are right: being told that you are ‘less than’ really does hurt the soul. I currently live in a military installation, and love that the spouses club is joint officer/enlisted. (Otherwise, I never would have joined) There seems to be a theme in many of Austen’s work where the heroine realizes the worth of someone (Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Emma and Jane Fairfax–along with a new respect for the happiness of Harriet, Elinor and Mrs. Jennings…)

  10. Beautiful scenery, beautiful ladies, beautiful dresses! This photoshoot makes me think, “Hey, where did these pictures come from? Color cameras weren’t invented yet!!”

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