Downton Abbey: Life Imitating Art

Downton Abbey has been described as a soap opera, costume drama and as a television sensation. Once one gets used to the British accents, it pulls you in with various storylines and deep character development. It has won a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy among its many accomplishments. It is part of a recent trend of serial drama that has become so popular in recent years.

The Downton Abbey Storyline

Downton Abbey is set in the fictional estate of Downton Abbey and follows the trials and tribulations of the equally fictional Crawley family. While the Abbey and the family are fictional, the series includes historical events like the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, The Spanish Flu epidemic and even America’s Teapot Dome scandal.

The first season of Downton Abbey starts in 1912, and the fourth season covers the early 1920’s. The series spends time demonstrating the relationships of the family and their servants in the large Abbey and how they interact with themselves and each other. There is a well-crafted mixture of intrigue, mystery, danger and of course love and lust to keep viewers attention.

The Downton Abbey Effect on Fashion and Decorating

One of the most appealing aspects for Downton Abbey fans are the elaborate costumes and set designs the show uses. Each has been created to specifically reflect the period. Fancy, full dresses abound on the female Crawley family characters while the males seem to always be in a state of formal wear. Even the servant staff wears period clothing to reflect their specific positions within the Abbey.

The series features period automobiles driven by chauffeurs and the Abbey itself is filled with furniture of the time. Large, long tables with fancy table linens are the scene for many family meals where plots are progressed and secrets discovered. Walls are covered in works of art and family portraits. Care has been taken to have authenticity in everything from glassware to luggage.

Life Imitating Art

The elaborate lifestyle of the Crawley’s has led to a series of products mimicking the family’s surroundings, including fashions and household goods.

Today, merchandise is available from Downton Abbey throw pillows to Downton Abbey table runners and placemats for themed parties. There are Downton Abbey style curtains and even bedding that is being produced for fans of the series.

This is a situation of life imitating art as the popularity of the series has revived many of the touches of life in the teens and early twenties.

The Future of Downton Abbey

Apparently 34 episodes aren’t enough. In 2014 the series heads into its fifth season, and continues to be very popular among viewers. There have been nearly 100 named characters in the series since its start, and along with the four seasons, the series has had three Christmas Specials. As the series moves into its fifth season, fans will be encouraged to know that a “prequel” to the series is in the works, featuring the younger Crawley family adventures. There is no end in sight as long as the viewership and sales of related materials continues to strengthen.