Interior Design in The Pursuit of Love

Nancy Mitford’s most enduringly popular novel ‘The Pursuit of Love’ is the latest in a string of TV adaptions of period novels.

Following on from the success of Regency-era series Bridgerton, The Pursuit of Love has made us fall in love with the 1920s as a design period all over again. First published in 1945, the extravagant costumes, maximalist interiors and majestic locations all capture the end of austerity and the beginning of a more optimistic time.

Modelled on the author’s own famously unconventional family, the plotline moves from the ancestral home of Alconleigh in Gloucestershire to the Pyrenees at the height of the Spanish Civil War and finally to the delights of Paris during the Roaring Twenties. In this blog, we celebrate the mixture of quintessentially English country charm and Art Deco glamour which characterises the interiors and share our favourite design highlights from the series.

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. Image via Village Books.

'The interiors have not just been selected for their aesthetic appeal, but also reveal something about the characters who inhabit them.'

Since first airing on the 9th May, the series has driven a 1533% increase for 1920s properties and a 228% increase for 1920’s interiors on Google.* From opulent parquet flooring to bold statement artwork, there is no shortage of interiors inspiration. The interiors have not just been selected for their aesthetic appeal, but also reveal something about the characters who inhabit them. For instance, the sumptuous bathroom at Alconleigh features a free-standing, clawfoot bath against a backdrop of Sevillian tiles. This set designed was created at Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol. It mirrors Linda Radlett’s imaginative and carefree spirit beautifully, hinting at the romantic destinations she dreams of, far away from the muted and restrained colours of her childhood home.

Linda Radlett's Cheyne Walk House. Image via Country & Townhouse.

In the next chapter of her life, we follow Linda from the faded aristocratic charm of Alconleigh to her London residence located on Chelsea’s historic Cheyne Walk ‘on that great bend of the river where Whistler lived’. The sole possession Linda takes with her to her new home is a portrait of a bathing woman by Renoir, gifted to her by Lord Merlin.

A bohemian aristocrat who befriends and mentors Linda, Lord Merlin introduces Linda to the glittering world of London’s high society that lies waiting just outside her Chelsea ‘doll’s house’. This timelessly elegant area of London is one of the key 'golden postcodes' that is still highly desirable to our client’s today. This exclusive neighbourhood represents the same cache that it would have to Linda with its charming mews houses and townhouses.

Andrew Scott playing Lord Merlin in her country estate. Image via BBC.

Lord Merlin’s own estate, Merlinford, is a wonderful combination of traditionalism with touches of eccentricity. A backdrop of classic pastel blue and original alabaster Georgian ceiling mouldings are juxtaposed with flamboyant floral displays, a solitary white stallion and flock of multi-coloured pigeons. An unashamed aesthete, his home is filled with paintings and objet d’art. Instead of quaint landscape watercolours and Old Masters’ paintings that you may expect in a stately home such as Merlinford, the walls exhibit a range of contemporary and abstract pieces in ornate gilt frames. Unlike Alconleigh with its traditional flock wallcoverings and austere hunting room mounted with antlers, Merlinford bridges the gap between old money and the hedonistic decadence that the Roaring Twenties became renowned for.

'Gilding, gold satins, extravagant bouquets abound against a background of powder blue.'

Linda Radlett in her Parisian home. Image via Country & Townhouse.

In Paris, we see more of Linda’s flamboyant character come through in the choice of interiors. Gilding, gold satins, extravagant bouquets abound against a background of powder blue. Reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s royal chambers, the interiors are more than befitting for her new status as the wife of a French Duke.

Writer, actress and director, Emily Mortimer revealed that Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ was a huge inspiration for the series, with its fresh and modern interpretation take on the period genre. The interiors also borrow from another iconic director’s aesthetic: Wes Anderson. The eccentric and whimsical costume and interior design and title credits in swirly cursive are distinctly Anderson in feel and breathe new life into this classic.

Fanny and Alfred's Oxfordshire Cottage in The Pursuit of Love. Image via Country & Townhouse.

While wayward Linda travels across Europe following her heart, the other heroine of Mitford’s most famous novel is the embodiment of domesticity. Fanny Logan shares an idyllic Oxfordshire cottage with her academic husband, Alfred. Chintzy floral wallpaper, pale blue walls and elegant wooden furniture creates a stark contrast to Linda and Lord Merlin’s lavish interiors. This comforting and inviting space mirrors Fanny’s character; a reliable and ever-steady presence in Linda’s chaotic life.

Much like Bridgerton, The Pursuit of Love cleverly uses interior design to tell a story around each character’s social standing and personality traits. Likewise, we work closely with our clients to craft a beautiful home that reflects their individual lifestyle and tastes and is truly unique to them.

Linda Radlett in Paris. Image via Instagram.

From beautiful country estates and the most sumptuous hotels, to opulent ball rooms, The Pursuit of Love is truly an interior design delight. We love how this adaption effortlessly moves between some of our favourite design periods, from quintessentially British interiors with elegant Georgian architecture to the fringing and gilded excess of 1920’s Paris, there is much interiors inspiration to be taken from this modern interpretation of a literary classic.