It’s not surprising that, over the years, creative people have been drawn to the town. In 1725 Henry Fielding caused a scandal when he tried to abduct local heiress Sarah Andrews. The attempt was unsuccessful but Sarah was immortalised as ‘Sophie’ in his famous novel ‘Tom Jones’. One of the country’s finest novelists, Jane Austen, first visited the town in 1803 when she was twenty nine years of age.
She set part of her novel ‘Persuasion’ here and it was thought that she based the fall of her fictional character, Louise Musgarve, on the steep, irregular stone steps out on the Cobb, now known as ‘Grannie’s Teeth’.
During the autumn of 1994 the BBC filmed the drama ‘Persuasion’ on location in here for release in the spring 1995.
Authors , painters and artists authors painters and artists
James Whistler, the well known American artist, also had connections with the town. When he visited Lyme Regis in the summer of 1895, at the age of 61 years, he painted two of his finest portraits, ‘The Master Smith of Lyme Regis’ and ‘The Little Rose of Lyme Regis’ (both paintings now reside in the Boston Museum of Fine Art).
Another famous literary figure, Beatrix Potter, also staid in Lyme Regis. Some of her water colour illustrations ‘Little Pig Robinson’ were based on views in the town. (You can stay at the hotel mentioned in her books – Sevensprings).
In 1969 renowned local author, John Fowles, wrote the novel ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ which won world wide acclaim. In 1980, part of the town underwent a transformation for the filming of the book which was set here a century earlier.
This dramatic love story which starred Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons plus many locals as extras, helped to re-inforce the town’s age old appeal. Even today, writers, painters and the creative streak in all of us is inspired by the timeless atmosphere of this special place.