An English Manor Parlor Inspired by the book “Emma”


Welcome to the February Edition of the Virtual Book Club.

I along with three other bloggers share our interpretation of a different book each book on the fourth week of each month.

On Thursday we share something home decor related and on the following Saturday a culinary treat inspired by our book.

side view of a fire in the fireplace and chairs flanking the fireplace just like a manor parlor

Jane Austen

The book Emma by Jane Austen is set in Georgian-Regency England. The setting and situations were inspired by Jane Austen’s own life and experiences.

Jane was born in 1775 and died in 1817. Tho not from an upper-class family, her father was the Reverend George Austen of the Steventon rectory. My guess is that being the daughter of the town clergyman, she would have come in contact with all walks of life in her village.

She also was exposed to extensive literature and went to boarding school. Her family was large and the children often made up plays and acted out their imagination. They were also a very humorous family.

It’s clear that Jane herself pulled from her life and imagination when she wrote “Emma”.

Gathered Around the Fireplace

The upper classes in the 19th century would have had beautiful Georgian furniture in the manor parlor. This was certainly the case for Emma and her father who were the wealthiest family in the fictional country village of Highbury.

In addition to the Manor Parlor, there would have been fireplaces in every room to heat the house.

Candles would illuminate the rooms for reading, painting, and playing the piano; which were some of the pastimes of the era.

Dances and entertaining were also popular for the upper class; typically in their own homes; in their ballroom.

Outdoor Activities

When the weather permits picnics and lawn tennis or croquet were outdoor fun activities.

Trips to Bath for their bath spas were a leisure time destination; traveling there by coach and buggies.

Quote: “You must be the best judge of your own happiness.”
― Jane Austen, Emma

Emma the Matchmaker

After introducing her friend and Governess Miss Taylor to Mr. Weston and their subsequent marriage, Emma fancied herself as the matchmaker in Highbury.

The premise of the book is Emma’s desire to get the people she loves married!

After that initial setup, Emma seems to get things wrong including her own love.

In the end, all of the relationships that were really meant to be, actually happen.

I myself have been involved in a few weddings in the last few years. Wedding #1 for our daughter, Annie. It was the sweetest little backyard wedding with just family. My niece Danika and her husband Mark’s wedding. It was a beautiful fall wedding at a vineyard. and then Annie had wedding #2 which we fondly call “The Party”.

The English Manor Home

There are several movies and series based on the book Emma.

These movies bring the beautiful manor, gardens, and the English countryside to life.

The manor parlor was filled with gilded framed artwork, elaborate woodwork, and Georgian furniture.

Women of means in this time period wore stays (a bodice with strips of whalebone) and hooped petticoats. Fashion was very important to them. While they looked beautiful and elegant. I can’t imagine walking around in all that finery.

No wonder they carried folding fans to fan away the vapors!

Jane Austen’s book is comedic and I loved the 2020 version of the movie that made her beautiful book come to life.

Peace & Love,

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  1. Your Emma-inspired parlor is beautiful, Lynn! The decor is such a pretty nod to the era in which the book was written. I love how you included the history surrounding Jane Austen’s life, too.

    1. Thank you Erin – I’m having so much fun with our book club!

  2. Your living room looks gorgeous! I love all of the pretty details. Hugs to you.

  3. Leslie Watkins says:

    So love this book and the inspiration you took away from it.

  4. Omgoodness, I love this space so much! You find the best artwork for your Frame TV. You have to share your resources! Pinned 🙂

    1. I have so much fun finding art for our TV on Etsy!

  5. I loved all the history you shared of Jane Austen and the era. It was beautifully written and your interpretation was delightfully executed.

  6. Great job transforming your space into a parlor where Emma might have sat! Love reading these posts! Now I want to read the book!

    1. You won’t be disappointed in the book or the movies. I liked the version from 2020 the best.