Jessica Fellowes Quotes
“Matthew: Shall I remind you of some of the choicest remarks you made about me when I arrived here? Because they live in my memory as fresh as the day they were spoken.
Mary: Oh, Matthew. What am I always telling you? You must pay no attention to the things I say.
When they kiss, it is a long kiss, all the more passionate for being delayed far longer than it should have been.”
“It took a while to shoot the scene by the coconut stall at the fun fair, so Michelle (Mary) and I had a competition. I think she beat me 10-1 - she was uncannily good. The crew were very disappointed in me. To be beaten by a woman is bad enough, but one in Edwardian dress is really highlighting something.”
“Allen Leech is Tom Branson: The car I drive is a 1920 Renault and it is an absolute nightmare with all the double declutching. The owner drives it first, then I get in and the gears start clunking. Once I heard a massive clunk and I looked back and a huge piece of metal had fallen out into the road - he had to go back and get it. He'd driven that car to France and back, so I blame the owner for losing half the gearbox, not my gear changing! It's a hand-crank start and you have to be careful how you do it because once it starts spinning you can lose your thumb.”
“Cora, the daughter of Isidore Levinson, a dry goods millionaire from Cincinnati, arrived in England in 1888, when she was 20 years old, with her mother as chaperone. By this time, even respectable rich American girls preferred to find their husbands amongst the nobility. Thanks to the successes of the earlier Buccaneers and a fashion for all things European, from interiors to dress designers such as the House of Worth, pursuing an English marriage had now become desirable. For these families, the many years in which Americans had fought to escape the clutches of colonial rule and create their own republic appeared to have been forgotten.”
“Laura Carmichael is Edith: During the war, Edith learns to drive the family car. "I haven't got a driving license, so I think production were a bit nervous! But in some ways it was an advantage that driving isn't second nature to me because I wasn't so surprised about where the things were. My heart was in my mouth - the car is one of the last of its kind and worth half a million pounds. The gears are all in a straight line and neutral is a tiny point in between, you have to do double declutching - so I just kept it in first. On the second take I thought I was thought o kill the cameraman! We were filming in Bampton so all the locals were watching, just to add to the pressure...”
“Michelle Dockery is Mary: There was one scene where I had a corset visible, so it was made for me. After we had filmed it, we removed all the details - flowers and ribbons - to make it a plain corset and then I could wear that as it was a perfect fit. I'm taller than most actresses, so most corsets tend to be to short in the body.”
“Susannah Buxton, costume designer: This dress (above) was made of original beading so delicate that it couldn't be worn again. The red dress (right) is made from a turn-of-the-century Spanish evening dress. We sourced beautiful silk chiffon and had it pleated for the cap sleeves and bands across the front. We built layers for the final effect, with embroidered lace laid over the deep-red satin under-dress. We used evening gloves from the costume house selection, which are "dipped down" - that is, run through with dyes to take the brightness out of the fabric.”
“Should the girls decide to go for a walk, they would need to change into a different outfit, a light woollen tweed suit and sturdier boots - but on simpler days, such as for the garden party, they make mercifully few changes. Cora, like many married ladies in her position, takes the opportunity on quiet afternoons to take off her corset and wear a teagown for an hour or two before getting into her evening dress. Its huge advantage was that it was always ornately decorated but simply cut, meaning it was the only garment a woman could conceivably get in and out of alone, as it could be worn without a corset underneath. Worn between five and seven o'clock, it gave rise to the French phrase 'cinq a sept'. This referred to the hours when lovers were received, the only time of day when a maid wouldn't need to be there to help you undress and therefore discover your secret. Lady Colin Campbell's divorce had hinged on the fact that her clothes had clearly been fastened by a man who didn't know what he was doing; when her lady's maid saw her for the next change, the fastenings were higgledy-piggledy. But for Cora, the teagown is not for any illicit behaviour, just for respite from her underpinnings.”
“Susannah Buxton, costume designer: These three dresses demonstrate well the different ways in which we brought the costumes together for the show. Mary's dress was made for her, Edith's was hired - it was previously used in the Merchant-Ivory production of A Room With A View - and Sybil's is an original Edwardian summer dress.”
“June in the Cotswolds continued to astonish her with its unfolding beauty. After the exploding colours and scents of May, intoxicating with its blossom and the constant singing of birds, June’s long, still days, with bees diving into the bowed heads of the heavy roses, made her feel as if she could lie down in the grass and disappear like Alice into Wonderland.”