|Referencing another, more famous author.|
This is social comedy, or a comedy of manners, perhaps. Emmeline Lucas, or Lucia, as she wants to be called, dominates the social life of small town Riseholme by having set herself up as a paragon of culture and good taste. She hosts parties with musical entertainment and poetry readings (her husband Philip, whom she calls Peppino, is a retired lawyer and self-published poet), she has a penchant for tableaux, and has even invented her own dresscodes for parties. Her tastes go beyond the social and she has written a memorable essay on "Humour in Furniture", which she has read to the Riseholme Literary Society, advocating the use of brass milkcans as receptacles for sticks and umbrellas, displays of realistic stone fruit, and man-made insects crawling around the home.
Georgie felt very much like a dog with a bone in his mouth, who only wants to get away from all the other dogs and discuss it quietly. It is safe to say that never in twenty-four hours had so many exciting things happened to him. He had ordered a toupet, he had been looked on with favour by a Guru, all Riseholme knew that he had had quite a long conversation with Lady Ambermere and nobody in Riseholme, except himself, knew that Olga Bracely was going to spend two nights here.
The author Benson reminds me most of, that I have read, is Nancy Mitford, who published her first novel about ten years after "Queen Lucia". Both write amusingly about their social circle, which is upper class in Mitford´s case and solidly middle class in Benson´s. However, and I say this with the reservation that I have yet to read Mitford´s most praised, later novels, Benson has a lot more depth to his characters and the plots have more layers.
Then Georgie had the other picture to finish, which he hoped to get ready in time to be a New Year's present, since Olga had insisted on Lucia's being done first. He had certainly secured an admirable likeness of her, and there was in it just all that his stippled, fussy representation of Lucia lacked. "Bleak December" and "Yellow Daffodils" and the rest of the series lacked it, too: for once he had done something in the doing of which he had forgotten himself. It was by no means a work of genius, for Georgie was not possessed of one grain of that, and the talent it displayed was by no means of a high order, but it had something of the naturalness of a flower that grew from the earth which nourished it.
this charming blog is dedicated to the Riseholme/Tilling universe. I also like this cute and nerdy little tribute on youtube, by Kevin Riley.