Image from Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire (possible inspiration for Blandings Castle)
Blandings Castle, with its setting, its people and its atmosphere is among the most import and probably most popular
creations of the Master, P. G. Wodehouse. And it's the setting for some of his best books through his long and prolific career.
There are 11 books + Sunset at Blandings set at the Castle, plus serveral other short stories in other books.
This is how we are first introduced to Blandings Castle (in Something Fresh / Something New - 1915),
and surprisingly it's not on a warm and sunny day in the otherwise perpetual summers we are all used to
through the entire Saga (except for in the story "Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit" from 1927
(and in the book "Very Good, Jeeves" - 1930)
I first "met" Wodehouse at Blandings, as the first books I read were Blandings Stories, and I return to them ever so often.
Probably not only for a good read, but in some way also as a retreat fromf the hustle and bustle of our own times.
Deep and serious investigations have been done to establish its sources and its "real" location, some of these by learned
Wodehousians and others by geographically inclined computer and IT specialist.
In the book "Sunset at Blandings" based on the last and unfinished manuscript Wodehouse was working on when he died,
Wodehouse scholar Richard Usborne presents his own treatise on this, accompanied with drawings and maps by Ionicus.
Ionicus was also the artist reponsible for most of the covers for the many Penguin editions of the Masters works.
And even if the title of the book contradicts the motto of this page, I think the picture Ionicus presents have quite a strong
likeness to the real world castle I have chosen for the page header. A choice influenced by the studies and theories I've read
but also by the images created in my own head when first reading through the "Blandings Saga".
Here are the illustrations from the book.
(Click on the images to see the full version of them)
(Copyright © Chatto & Windus Ltd 1977)
A BBC TV-movie based on the Blandings novel "Heavy Weather" in 1995 is quite popular among Wodehousians,
in sharp contrast to the far more diverse opinions about the "new" series by the same company aired in 2013 and 2014.
The first movie is quite "true" to both the story and the characters, and most fans also finds the choice of actors
more apropriate. As for the later series it was sometimes difficult to recognize the story, even for those well versed in the whole saga,
and perhaps even worse, they for some strange and misguided reason also changed or even replaced much of the
original dialogue. As if that ever needed improving!
Here are the full version of "Heavy Weather" on YouTube:
Heavy Weather (BBC 1995)
Actors: Judy Parfitt, Roy Hudd, Richard Briers, Peter O'Toole
Director: Jack Gold - Location: Sudeley Castle
Find out more at: Blandings on Wikipedia (very informative)
The Blandings Saga:
Someting Fresh (1915)
Leave it to Psmith (1923)
Summer Lightning (1929)
Heavy Weather (1933)
Uncle Fred in the Springtime (1939)
Full Moon (1947)
Pigs Have Wings (1952)
Service with a Smile (1961)
Galahad at Blandings (1965)
A Pelican at Blandings (1969)
+ Sunset at Blandings (1977) (based on his last unfinished manuscript)
+ total of 9 short stories in the following books, and collected in Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best (1992)
Blandings Castle and Elsewhere (1935) Lord Emsworth and Others (1937)
Nothing Serious (1950) Plum Pie (1966)
"... the sublime nature of that world is such as to make you gasp."
"For Mr. Wodehouse there has been no fall of Man; no "aboriginal calamity." His characters have never
tasted the forbidden fruit. They are still in Eden. The gardens of Blandings Castle are that original garden
from which we are all exiled.
... Mr Wodehouse's idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity
that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in."
Evelyn Waugh (1961)
And that is the spirit in which the content of this page aspires to be presented.
Copyright © 2014 - Morten Arnesen (a.k.a Joss Weatherby)