The wreath was of white roses and snowdrops. It sounds lovely. But what would a Victorian have made of such a choice? They knew all about the language of flowers, indeed, they had a word especially for it - 'floriography'. A carefully chosen gift of flowers provided a means of communicating emotions that could not be spoken out loud. White roses represented virtue and chastity and snowdrops meant consolation or hope.
Doesn't sound remotely suitable for Charles Dickens!
There have been a number of television dramatizations in recent years. I particularly enjoyed the production of 'Our Mutual Friend' with its murky opening scene on the River Thames. 'Bleak House' was equally good, with a riveting performance from Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock, (oh, those fabulous names!) Gillian triumphed again as Miss Haversham in a recent production of 'Great Expectations'. It is my favourite Dickens book, but this was not my favourite production. The actor playing Pip was impossibly handsome, he had been far more appropriately cast, some years earlier, as Oscar Wilde's young squeeze. By contrast the actress playing Estella had neither beauty nor magnetism. And, for goodness sake, THEY MUCKED ABOUT WITH THE ENDING! Dickens wrote two endings for this book as it was, isn't this enough for anyone!
I much preferred the 1999 production by Tony Marchants. It had a fantastic cast, Ioan Gruffold played the adult Pip and Justine Waddell was Estella. Charlotte Rampling was a memorable Miss Haversham.
If anyone out there hasn't read 'Great Expectations' then I suggest that you give yourselves a treat, read it first and then follow up with Peter Carey's, 'Jack Maggs', a wonderful Australian riposte to Victorian England. Hurray for Magwich!