Saturday, 4 December 2010

At Home with the Georgians

(Photo courtesy of BBC)
I enjoyed the first episode of the new series 'At home with the Georgians' presented by Professor Amanda Vickery. It gave an insight, through predominantly male diaries, of the way the home was thought of as an important part of attracting a wife. Yes, Professor Vickery used a style that would appeal to most viewers, for instance describing a particular woman as a cross between Margaret Thatcher and Nigella Lawson(!) However, this was an enjoyable and informative hour and, as I am particularly interested in social history, a perfect programme for me. My heart went out to one lady who was living with her wealthy brother and was regarded as a hanger-on, dependent on him for everything. She had just her cat for comfort and kept to her room most of the time. Her diary entries were very poignant.
My one niggle was when Professor Vickery found a portrait of one of her 'heroes' and was less than impressed with his jowly appearance (although I am surprised she didn't comment that the portrait showed a wealthy middle-aged man, rather than the young man she had imagined from his letters). I felt this to be a very emotional (and I have to say, female) reaction and I hadn't expected this in a balanced analysis, but I suppose as presenter, having lived with the diaries during her research, perhaps it was a genuine disappointment to her.
I have read a couple of reviews of the programme, one good, one less so, but isn't that always the way? I found it to be a fascinating programme, allowing lost voices from the past to be heard. I look forward to the next two in the series.

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