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Officially Season 4 of Downton hasn't started yet on PBS Masterpiece, but I must confess I've seen the whole darn thing already. I'm so excited for the Christmas special! Hopefully no deadly car crashed this year. And hopefully lots of fabulous outfits and sets and jewelry.

But what I'm really here to tell you about is that you should follow the official Downton Instagram feed here

There aren't too many posts up yet, but it's pretty yummy!

Like many I marvel at the dinner scenes, which obviously take quite a whiile to film. I just die for the stemware. How amazing to get a close-up peak at a table setting. 

...and of course the stunning teacups and saucers and spoons.

The caption doesn't say, but I wonder if this tea setting might be at Crawley House or the Dowager Countess's home, since the china pattern is different from above. I might have to rewatch to see if I can spot this set. #nerdalert.

It's full-on 1920s style in the costumes for Season 4 and the colours and beading are magnificent. I especially love how the beaded dresses catch the light. And Lady Mary dons a couple of stunning purple velvet frocks. It's fascinating to see how her wardrobe evolves as she comes out of her all-black morning. Keep an eye for it.

Another favourite part of Season 4 is how Lady Edith really blossoms. Watch for her in some truly stunning — and even sexy — ensembles. This olive green colour is so interesting and it looks fantastic on her. Love the hair ornament and her waves are perfection.

Here's another closeup vignette. No idea where this is but that painting is the bomb, as is the brass box!

And speaking of hair ornaments — hello incredible headband! And look at the mastery of her makeup: blushy cheeks and stained lips and those brows, and little else. Happy Birthday Michelle Dockery! She and her perfect eyebrows are celebrating a birthday today. In honour, I shall post my first gif -- look for the most subtle raise of the brow. Remember this: "I wouldn't want to push in."

And you can see a few more here.

And lastly, also speaking of that scene. Here's a screen cap of a wide shot:

Check out that pretty little piece of furniture, which I crushed on since first laying eyes on it. 

Mr. A just go this look-a-like in over at his shop. Check it out at the Vintage Fine Objects blog. 

duchess of cambridge and lady mary crawley

Here are two characters whose wardrobe I watched in 2011. The other day a spontaneous chat broke out on Twitter regarding the merits of the Duchess's Christmas Day church-going ensemble. Weighing in were Rev. Daniel Brereton (@RevDaniel), our style-savvy representative of the Church of England; Meredith Heron (@meredithheron), designer, blogger, contrarian; duchessofcambridgestyle.com blogger Makeda Saggau-Sackey (or another staffer tweeting from @TheDuchessStyle). The Rev, the blogger and I agreed that the Duchess's aubergine outfit was perfect for the occasion. Meredith – she of the acid green wedding dress ;-) was the lone dissenting voice. She felt the outfit too matronly for the young Duchess. Toward the end of our chat I remarked that I thought there was a whiff of Lady Mary Crawley in the Duchess's outfit. Lady Mary is one of the principle characters in the ITV/PBS series Downton Abbey. Judge for yourself. 

The Duchess of Cambridge, Dec. 25. Image from Duchessofcambridgestyle.com

Lady Mary Crawley (played by Michelle Dockery) in season 2, Downton Abbey.

downton abbey appreciation club

I have already professed my adoration and devotion to the Masterpiece Classic series Downton Abbey. Today, I offer an appreciation of this brief scene in episode 5 for the following three reasons.

1. On this rainy day, which is neither winter nor spring, I am awed by the beauty of the chartreuse green of the lawns and freshly unfurled leaves in the allée of trees. This series has many beautiful sets, but this goes to show that nature is often the most beautiful set of all. Just look at how the colour frames and envelopes these two, and how the freshness of spring underscores the bloom of their relationship.

2. Anna's linen coat:

Such a pretty cream colour. I love how the wrinkles reveal its pure linenness, and the lapel, buttons and tucked details are so lovely.

3. The dynamic between these to characters, Mr. Bates and Anna, is positively electric. The dialogue in this scene, heartwrenching:

Anna: "I love you Mr. Bates. I know it’s not ladylike to say it. But I’m not a lady and I don’t pretend to be."

Mr. Bates: "You are a lady to me. And I never knew a finer one."

Swoon.