Photos, portraits and maps to accompany your reading of the novel THE TESTAMENT OF SOPHIE DAWES

The Setting - locations and places mentioned in the novel

The setting for the story is Queen Victoria’s residence of Osborne House in the year 1862,  and also the village of St Helens. Both are located on the Isle of Wight – a small island off the  south coast of England. There are also numerous references to places in 19th-century France,  namely the châteaux of Chantilly and St Leu. Here is a selection of scenes that evoke those  settings, as they were at the time.

St Helens and the Duver ...

Firstly, a selection of scenes from Sophie Dawes’s birthplace, St Helens, mostly as seen in the  Victorian/Edwarian era.
old postcard picture of village green with geese - St Helens
St Helens Village Green with geese grazing
Victorian village with horse and cart, black and white phoeo - St Helens
Edwardian photo of village with people seated on grass - St Helens
Edwardian photo of village with people seated on grass - St Helens
sepea tone photo of boat on water, misty
The Mill Lake (pond) St Helens Duver

The Seamark ...

Next: two views of the old ruined church tower – the Seamark, as it was in Sophie’s day, this is a landmark setting in the story and occurs in numerous scenes.
ruined church tower by sea - the Seamark, St Helens
St Helens Seamark c 1813
black and white engraving of old St Helens Seamark - ruined tower by sea, with trees to rear
The Ruined church tower St Helens

Osborne House, a regal setting ...

Next: some old illustrations/paintings of Osborne House and nearby town of Ryde.
view of a Victorian residence in Italianate style amid lawns, Osborne House
Osborne terraces and garden
exterior of grand italianate building, Osborne House with people in Edwardian fashion
Osborne House, East entrance and carriage ring
coloured drawing shows view of Osborne House - grand itallianat building
The gardens and grounds of Osborne looking southwards towards the building.
old drawing showing seaside town with Victorian setting
Drawing of the seaside town of Ryde in 19th century

France ...

Some of the places and locations that Sophie, as Madame de Feuchères, would have known as a young woman in France. Chantilly, in particular was the setting around which many of the important key events of her life took place.
old painting of grand French chateau from exterior, with coach and horses
Chateau d’Ecouen, France
grand barouqe style staircase, circular
Grand staircase, restored, Chateau Chantilly, France
watercolour painting of French chateau with river in foreground
Chateau St Leu, France
Baroque-style ornamental foot of grand staircase Chateau Chantilly shows rams head
Foot of the Grand staircase,Chantilly
drawing of the Palais-Royal 1863
Palais Royal and gardens, Paris 1863
Palais Bourbon, Paris 1780
Palais Bourbon, Paris 1780

Other images of interest …

Some additional images of interest to readers of the story …
19th century painting shows French chateau with state visit from Queen Victorian
Queen Victoria and Albert’s state visit to Louis Philippe at Chateau d’Eu in 1843, by Eugène Lami
old painting, wood framed, of early balloon flight
First manned hydrogen balloon flight over paris, 1783
watercolour painting of old tall-masted ship at sea, steam but also with sails
HMS Black Eagle
colour photo of statue of Albert at Balmoral castle, hallway, red carpet
Theed’s statue of Albert, in situ at Balmoral
18th century painting of stage coach and people, rural scene
The Last Stage on the Portsmouth Road, 1815, Jacques Agasse
18th century cartoon of seafront with various characters, Portsmouth, England
Thomas Rowlandson, Portsmouth Point
old landscape painting, golden colours, showing balmoral castle in distance
A View of Balmoral, James Giles, 1848
nocturnal scene of 19th-century Paris, disturbed street scene, people, tall buildings
Turmoil. The arrival of the duc d’Orléans (Louis Phillipe) at the Palais-Royal, by Jean-Baptiste Carbillet
Old painting of Claremont House, coach arriving, people watching from lawn
Exile. Louis Philippe on state visit to Claremont House, by Édouard Pingret, 1844

St Helens ...

And finally, some relevant images of St Helens and the Duver, the major setting of the novel, as it is today.
photo of long pathway with water either side, St Helens Causeway, Duver
The Causeway leading to the Duver, St Helens. The mill pond is on the left, the harbour to the right.
The grave of Richard Dawes, St Helens
photo of St Helens Seamark - old ruined church tower, square
The Ruined church tower St Helens as the visitor sees it today.
two plaques on church wall with text
Plaque on the wall commemorates origin of church c. 1220
photo of landscape with distant fields and a bay with sea beyond, winter trees
The stunning view from St Helens looking down onto the Duver