Miss Eagle went to a preview screening of Amazing Grace last night. I talk about it over here. At Q & A time with the Panel, one gentleman started to get picky about historical inaccuracies and had to be reminded - indeed, the reminders came from the audience - that it was, after all, a movie and there was a disclaimer in the credits explaining that there was some fictionalisation and some reworking of events for dramatic content.
Miss E's view is that she may have liked things a little better had it been a Merchant Ivory production. Not that there were not some good film settings of historic interest.
But you see, a few months ago Miss E picked up an interesting book at City Basement Books: Saints in Politics: the 'Clapham Sect' and the growth of freedom. Miss E thinks it would have been rather nice to see in the movie the following depicted in a nice Merchant Ivory sort of way:
After Henry [Thornton, Wilberforce's cousin] had married, his house at Clapham was the chosen meetng place of the broherhood, and his famous library, designed by Pitt, oval in shape, and "curiously wainscotted with books" became the G.H.Q. of the Clapham campaigns.
Now, dear Booklover, don't you get carried away into a wonderful imaginary place with that phrase - "curiously wainscotted with books". The Library was designed by a Prime Minister of England, William Pitt the Younger. Surely the house still exists. And, if so, surely The Library must exist.
Well, your correspondent did a search. Miss Eagle has found reference to the house which is now known as Battersea Rise House. There is even mention of The Library:
The Oval Library built in 1797 was reputably designed by William Pitt.
Such images as I can find of the house are poor quality. I can find reference to a photograph of a drawing of The Oval Library. But I would love to have seen it - if not the real thing, then a reconstruction of a magical place - so curiously wainscotted with books.