Sir Walter had taken a very good house in Camden Place, a lofty dignified situation, such as becomes a man of consequence; and both he and Elizabeth were settled there, much to their satisfaction. Sir Walter Elliot, Persuasion, Chapter 15
I find it amusing that Sir Walter chose a location for his ‘retrenchment’ home high up on the hill in Bath with a lofty view. I imagine that it was pleasing for him to look out his windows and down on the rest of the city! Like a high and mighty King in his castle.
Jane Austen resided in Bath with her family from 1801 until her father’s death there in 1805. Her experiences there greatly influenced her novel Persuasion. Take the pilgrimage and walk in the gentle footsteps of Jane Austen as she arrives in Bath in this descriptive and informative account from the book Jane Austen: Her Homes and Her Friends, by Constance Hill.
Let us follow in the wake of this “very neat chaise” gentle reader, alighting, as Jane did, in Paragon.
Those who know Bath may remember that this name is given to the eastern side of a curved street on the slope of a steep hill, whose opposite side, called Vineyards, is raised above the level of the road on a high terrace walk. In Miss Austen’s day Paragon consisted of twenty-one houses only, as those at the northern end of the row were then called Axford Buildings. The Leigh Perrots’ house, it seems, was No. 1 Paragon, which is nearly opposite a steep passage leading up to Belmont.
At the further end of the street can be seen the green slopes that rise abruptly to Camden Place; which “Place” is described by a contemporary writer, the grandiloquent Mr. Egan, as a “superb crescent composed of majestic buildings.” No wonder that the author of “Persuasion” made Sir Walter Elliot choose this locality for his residence in Bath as being “a lofty and dignified situation, such as became a man of consequence.” There, “in the best house in Camden Place,” we can fancy the vain-glorious baronet and his daughter Elizabeth rejoicing in their superiority to their neighbours in the size of their drawing-rooms, the taste of their furniture, and the, elegance of their card-parties.
Stroll along the shady, tree lined walk where Captain Wentworth met Anne Elliot in this beautifully illustrated guide, Jane Austen in Bath: Walking Tours of the Writer’s City , available on-line at Barnes & Noble Booksellers
*Watercolour painting of Camden Place, Bath by Jane Hartshorne, 1829
I’ve just returned from a visit to Bath. Yes, you’re right, taking a real tour there, walking the paths that JA had trodden, and beholding the very sights of the City that she had experienced heightened my appreciation for her works. I’ve got great pics too just posted in my blog, you and your readers are most welcome to visit. Thanks for your writing.
Hi Arti, thank you for your comments and mention of your trip to Bath. I enjoyed seeing your photos. What an incredible trip. Beat wishes, Laurel Ann