Décor of “Downton Abbey”

Downton Abby is a showcase for the age of Polished Antiques

PBS’ Masterpiece Classic Theatre is currently showing the second season of the British series “Downton Abbey”. Along with millions of viewers in Britain and the US, and 140 other countries, we’ve got caught up in the “upstairs, downstairs” story of the Lord and Lady Grantham. Although the story line is interesting, we’re just as preoccupied with the furnishings used in the series. 

Since we are fans of English antiques, our eyes move about the actual rooms of the manor house, Highclere Castle, near Newbury, while watching the series. We notice the wine decanter that the butler, Mr. Carson, uses to pour the wine at the society dinner and the silver cake stand on the table. We see the cane, used by Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) and behind her, the plant stand. And there’s a mahogany round tripod table in the library. Downton Abbey gives us a glimpse into the history of the antiques we like to collect and sell.

The Edwardian period followed the conservative Victorian period. It was a fashionable time, following the lead of King Edward VII. The Edwardian look combines mahogany furniture, wicker furniture, light colored fabrics, lace, flowers abound, bronze figures, silver frames, etc.  Downton Abbey accurately reflects the high society manners and the highly polished furnishings of the time period prior to World War I.

Nowadays, most people don’t decorate by recreating an era. They pick items that capture their imagination, perhaps selecting a piece because of the design or its past functional purpose. Like our customers, we find pieces that “speak” to us. We pick the piece with the something extra that captures our attention. We appreciate truly beautiful items that add interest to our lives. As “Downton Abbey” continues, it will be interesting to see the effects of WWI on the manor house’s furnishings. You can bet we’ll be watching….closely!

Here’s a sample of what’s available in the store:


Filed under Antiques

2 responses to “Décor of “Downton Abbey”

  1. Susan Sprake

    I am interested in identifying a vase shown on the Downton Abbey series which has a fairy shaped and stylized handle. Any ideas?

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