Thursday, 12 June 2008

Burgh House and Althorp

Tomorrow is Friday 13th, which I hope isn't a bad augur for an event I'm doing at Burgh House, a beautiful Queen Anne house which is the home of the Hampstead Museum, and just around the corner from Cannon Hall, where Daphne du Maurier grew up. It also happens to be the place where my wedding celebrations took place, many years ago, so I feel very sentimentally attached to it. Anyway, I won't be telling wedding stories tomorrow, but I will be talking about 'Daphne', at what sounds like a very civilised literary lunch (please do come along if you can get to Hampstead by 1pm).
Then on Saturday I'm going to Northamptonshire, to speak at the Althorp Literary Festival.
Two unusually beautiful houses in the space of two days... I feel very privileged. In fact, the various talks and events that I've done in the last three months, since the publication of 'Daphne', have taken me all over the country, to a series of lovely places (Calcot Manor, the British Library, the Bronte Parsonage, Christ Church and St Anne's in Oxford, Ferryside, Port Eliot, amongst others). But it's not just been the settings that have made these events special -- I've had the chance to meet a great many interesting people, many of whom have shared my passion for du Maurier and the Brontes. They've told me new stories, and given me fresh impetus, and renewed enthusiasm. And what more could a writer ask for than that?
So thank you to everyone who has come to an event, and also to all of you who have posted on this blog -- I've been able to meet some of you already, but it's been equally good to get to know those of you who can talk in this arena, but live too far away to come to a literary festival. (Some as far away as Australia, Canada, and the United States). A blog may not be quite as grand a setting for a conversation as an English stately home, but it has its own charm, don't you think?


Anonymous said...

Enjoy Althorp. I was there the first day it opened, the year after Princess Di died. I thought perhaps I'd stand out in the crowd, being American rather than British, but it was a veritable United Nations of accents and languages. Beautiful, beautiful place. How lovely that they're doing a literary festival there, even if it's not entirely in keeping with Di's interests. :-)

Justine Picardie said...

Thanks for your comment, Amy. I've never been to Althorp before, so I'm really interested to see it. I wonder if it still gets a lot of Diana pilgrims?

Anonymous said...

Are there any Australian literary festivals coming up on your map Justine?

Thanks Amy, I had forgotten that Althorp is where Diana is buried on her island. Recently they had an exhibition of her belongings/ dresses/ tiara's/ school reports/ home movies at the Powerhouse Museum. I didn't go, but I did hear it was very moving. When it come to Diana buried on that island, all I can feel is a myriad of Princess archetypes swelling, Lady of Shallot and all that, maybe that is why there is such interest in her life...?

wormauld said...

Justine, I've been away hence the silence also had collapsed modem. I'm so glad to see how well 'Daphne' is doing. It deserves to do well.
Incidently I was named after a bok character. Daphne in Dornford Yates books.
what are you working on now?I'd love to read a Bronte biog' written by you.Daphne

galant said...

I hope you're enjoying Althorp ... I heard Lord Spencer talk at Ways With Words at Dartington a couple of years ago, helping to promote his book Battle for Europe. He's an excellent historian and a very good speaker - you're certainly in good writing company at Althorp!
Margaret Powling

Justine Picardie said...

Gondal-girl -- no Australian festivals, sadly. I wish there were -- I'd love to visit, as I've never been there before.
Daphne -- hooray, you're back! How have you been? I'm just beginning to feel the stirrings of a new book -- very tentative, but I think it will be non-fiction.
Margaret -- lovely to hear from you. Will you be coming to Way With Words next month? I'm there on July 15th, and it would be nice to see you again. Looking forward to Althorp, and to meeting Charles Spencer tomorrow. Am having sudden sartorial crisis about what to wear!

dacia said...

Burghs had their origin as early as the 12th century as local communities granted a royal monopoly of trade in the surrounding district. In addition to these royal regality burghs there developed barony burghs established by the Scottish barons and enjoying similar trading privileges.and Althorp is a country estate and stately home in Northamptonshire, England, located roughly 5 miles north-west of the county town NorthamptonThe house was originally a red brick Tudor building but its appearance was radically altered in the 18th century when the famous architect Henry Holland was commissioned to make extensive changes.


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