Properties and Possessions in Jane Austen’s Novels

  • Barbara Hardy


Ever since Fielding designed an appropriate dwelling for Mr All-worthy in Tom Jones, the houses in fiction have been carefully planned and furnished. Allworthy’s house is the best of Gothic, and can rival the Grecian style. Its situation is sufficiently low to be sheltered from the north-east by an oak grove, sufficiently elevated to yield fine prospects. Its lawns and tree-clumps are landscaped by man; its cascades, lake and meandering river by nature. The rooms in the front enjoy views of the park, waters, ruined abbey, villages, animals and a cloud-topped ridge of high mountains. Its river reaches a sea, its mountains are lost in sky. Extensive without, it is commodious within. House and environs possess unity and variety, look out on civilisation and nature, are products of both but owe more to nature than to art. The view was drawn, with a fine balance of sobriety and wit, from Glastonbury Tor, near Fielding’s birthplace, and the house probably draws on features of Ralph Allen’s house at Prior Park, near Bath, and Sharpham Park, near Glastonbury, combined and varied by the novelist’s natural powers and artifice.


Adopted Child Social Scene Fine Prospect Evening Party Affective Life 
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© Barbara Hardy 1976

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  • Barbara Hardy

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