NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

November 15, 2012

'Downton Abbey' has some Portsmouth roots

(Continued)

The letters detail the everyday goings-on of the aristocratic life at Highclere.

“Dinners parties and christenings and the ins and outs,” Donohoe says.

His favorite letter has shades of a “Downton Abbey” drama: It details the day a houseguest died when visiting Highclere, an event that caused the countess to faint three times.

Donohoe says it reminds him of a similar incident on the show, which caused the acid-tongued Dowager Countess of Grantham (played by Dame Maggie Smith) to declare, “One can’t go to pieces at the death of every foreigner.”

The exhibit features letters, photographs and objects that belonged to that family, such as the Wendell family coat of arms, calling cards, furniture and a monogrammed seal. There’re also modern-day photos of Highclere from the current Earl of Carnarvon, and “Downton Abbey” plays onscreen at one end of the room.

Donohoe says he hopes the exhibit will draw fans of the show to the Athenaeum. But he also thinks the exhibit will have more universal appeal as well.

“Even people who don’t watch the show (will) find it interesting,” he said, adding an aside from the Athenaeum’s librarian, who says “It’s popular because everybody is a bit of a snob.”

If you go

What: “Downton Abbey — A Portsmouth Family’s Connection”

Where: 9 Market Square, Portsmouth, N.H.

When: Now through Dec. 1

Cost: FreeLearn more: 603-431-2538 or portsmouthathenaeum.org

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Special Features