A Celebration of the Multitalented Julian Fellowes in Historic Charleston


The magnificent Low Country home of beautiful and historic Charleston, S.C. where we welcomed the multitalented Julian Fellowes and his wife Lady Emma Fellowes for The Library Society

With one of the oldest library collections in the US, The Charleston Library Society works tirelessly in preserving and maintaining this gem of a collection and the building that houses it. A few years ago Anne Cleveland stepped in to reinvigorate the organization by bringing talented people from the world of arts and letters to create excitement and awareness of this marvelous place.  With my love of history, art, architecture, decor, and because of the ebullient Anne, I wanted to have an involvement with this fascinating institution. 

One of the oldest libraries in America and a beautiful space for events, as well as reading.          Photo : Leigh Webber

Who better to celebrate the history of a place than Lord Julian Fellowes, writer and producer, of Downton Abbey and Gosford Park?  With his appreciation of history, and subsequent role of highlighting beautiful architecture to a worldwide audience through his television series, not to mention his award winning literature, it was a match made in heaven.

The principle characters in the extraordinary Downton Abbey written (screen play) and directed by Julian Fellowes

The fundraising event consisted of 3 segments – a very well attended speaking engagement by Lord Fellowes at the Dock Theatre, a cocktail party held by serial restorer and host extraordinaire Dick Jenrette at his exquisite Charleston home, followed by a dinner for 24 at yours truly’s.

The magnificent Roper House owned by a lovely friend Dick Jenrette. Dick was the host of the Fellowes for cocktails before they came to Chisolm House for dinner.

I of course went with a Charlestonian theme, in honor of this splendid city – the home of Porgy and Bess, the birthplace of The Charleston, a proud example of religious freedom in its colonial  days, and the most historically preserved city in the US.


Lord and Lady Fellowes and the head of the Charleston Library Society Anne Cleveland who brought them to Charleston                                                                            Photo : Leigh Webber

Two tables were set, and I reversed my color scheme of white and brown at each. The linen napkins are monogrammed with a C for Chisolm House, and in classic CR style, I purchased the (plastic) busts from a local store for a grand total of $14……as I always say, you can find style at any price point if you just look! The flowers and fruit, as ever, were also from local grocery stores.

Traditional Southern food was served, ending with a fantastic Meyer lemon tart. After supper people were asking where my dogs were, and I brought in my beloved Baby Monkey, who of course stole the show! 

Chisolm House

The staircase at Chisolm and one of my beloved camellias

Doing the flowers for the table c’est moi

The table for the dinner in the library                                                                  Photo:  LeighWebber

The candles are lit and we are ready for dinner

Emma Fellowes cuddling with Baby Monkey                                                    Photo : Leigh Webber       

Toasting the guest of honor Julian Fellowes                                                   Photo : Leigh Webber

I needed two tables, and this is the second one                                                   Photo : Leigh Webber

Me with the Fellowes explaining the origin of the bird room at Chisolm – not quite Downton Abbey,  but home to me                                                                                         Photo : Leigh Webb 

One of my favorite things in Charleston – the magnificent Angle Oak 

A big thank you to Leigh Webber who assisted with some of these photos, and of course my congratulations to Anne Cleveland for such an inspired occasion – a celebration of a wonderful place, institution and man!


The video below is comprised of scenes that represent the spirt of the Charleston I love, and more photos from our celebration of the talented Julian Fellowes. OH DEAR AFTER A MULTITUDE OF SPELL CHECKS —one nice reader pointed out the misspelling of Fellowes in the first clip and I some how managed to get it wrong- for me tcro fix this in this blog is impossible and it would take hours to export and reimport the corrected so forgive me!  I think all the others Fellowes have their E  


83 thoughts on “A Celebration of the Multitalented Julian Fellowes in Historic Charleston

  1. Such a joy to read of the exciting events in your life. As a lover of flowers I was smitten with your extraordinary centerpiece. Very Carolyne and extremely gorgeous!

  2. Carolyne,
    I get excited when you post. That blue and white porcelain piece holding flowers in the Bird room is exquisite. And what are the brown and white desert dishes, perfect color tones for that lemon-y dish?
    -Virginia Billeaud Anderson

    • Hey Virginia They are 19th century French transfer ware that I bought in a little antique store years ago …I cannot read the marking on the back so do not know. Sorry, cr

  3. I’m sure your beautiful home served as the perfect backdrop for such an evening and event. How exciting to have the creator of so many wonderful stories and incredible writing.
    The table, was gorgeous and I’m sure the food was too.
    May I switch places with you for a month? LOL
    Much Love

  4. JUST EXACTLY UNBELIEVABLY WHAT THIS ST. LOUIS GIRL NEEDED BEFORE GOING TO BED. I broke my arm one week ago almost to the hour. Doc congratulated me for avoiding any broken bones before 59 years 11 months. But finding this latest post will lull me to sleep quite perfectly. Everything a vision. Now I will dream of gorgeous florals, place settings, you and Julian Fellows.

    • Thank you Kim, and so sorry to hear about your arm – wishing you a speedy recovery, cr

  5. Dear Carolyne,

    Thank you, thank you for this amazing post. I can now see why it took awhile to put together.

    What a fabulous event and settings. Great video.

    What a talent, the both of you. I don’t know you but I love you and what you do and the joy it brings me.

    Marie ✨

    • As always, thank you Marie. Glad you enjoyed the video – I’m sure others could have made a feature film in the same time it took me! cr

  6. Entertaing video of what must surely have been a wonderful visit but you might correct Julian Fellowes’ name at the beginning…the “e” is missing…

  7. Wonderful start to a beautiful day. Thank you, Carolyne! Gorgeous as usual. Great video, too.

  8. What a wonderful event and love the video. Can you tell me who sings “Carolina in my Mind’ on the video, would love to add that to my music library.

    • Thank you Doris – it is Alison Krauss, and I think she performed it at a tribute concert for James Taylor, cr

  9. Looks like a good time was had by all. I’m sure Lord and Lady Fellowes will remember this event for a long time. Your house looks very beautiful. It’s the first time I have seen the library and that stunning faux boiseried space. Please share the stories of these rooms with us on your blog. Love the video.

    • Thank you Cynthia….I will get around to sharing all of these rooms on the blog, but as you can see, I’m a little behind! cr

  10. Beautiful video – LOVE the rendition of “Carolina in My Mind” playing. Sounds like Alison Krauss but I can’t find it on iTunes!! 🙁

    • Yes, it is Beth but it was from a performance at a James Taylor tribute, and you are correct, not on iTunes unfortunately, cr

  11. Wonderful pictures in your video. Makes one want to move to the Low Country.
    Thank you for sharing your time with Julian Fellowes with us.

    • Thank you Betty – yes, there is definitely something magical about the Low Country, and I’m a case in point of being swayed into moving! cr

    • They are 19th century French transfer ware that I bought in a little antique store years ago …I cannot read the marking on the back so do not know. Sorry

  12. Thanks you for sharing your celebrations and historic Charleston! Beautiful as always!!

  13. Missed you… Your portraits of your home as always are an inspiration. My thoughts on typos ! Who cares !
    Have a lovely Sunday Carolyne.

  14. Donna said it best. Always a pleasure to see your endeavors and look thru your lovely books. Food for the soul.

  15. Thank you for going to all that trouble. It is so fun to watch and the music was great, too. I feel like I was walking through the party with you. We love all you do. Don’t worry about a typo. I am sure your name, Carolyne, has been misspelled many times, too!

    • Thank you Michelle – that’s exactly how I had hoped – that you felt you were there with me! cr

  16. What a treat must have been having Mr. Fellowes lecturing. He is a very talented writer that, interestingly enough, seems to focus in an era of great change. While the US was going through a period of discovery and innovation, along with a great religious revival, Europe was in the midst of a social reengineering program that completely changed continental society; indeed, the entire West, with unprecedented agony and conflict that we still have. Nothing happens overnight. Most definitely, the 1910-1920 period of time dictated to the world what we have today. No wonder Mr. Fellowes is so immersed in it.

    I love the simplicity and elegance of the table setting, although I am surprised by the delicious Meyer lemon tart, since peach cobbler and pecan pie are “the” Southern desserts, par excellence. The first time I ever tasted peach cobbler, my taste buds changed forever. It was 20 years ago, and I still remember it very well.

    One of the best things the South has to offer are those magnificent live oaks you are showing us. I remember taking a tour of the US with my mother, who was visiting from Europe, and both of us fell in love with Charleston and these gorgeous trees that are a testimony to beauty, grace and endurance. Thank you for a truly wonderful post.

    • Thank you Laura – I too am a fan of peach cobbler, but in this case, the lemon tart worked better with the other courses. But don’t worry, we also make a very good pecan pie here as well! cr p.s in fact any sort of pie is my favorite dessert and add that ice or whipped cream and I am in heaven. I love eating pie for breakfast—my Missouri roots fit right in down south!

  17. Between the pictures and the video I feel like I was at that party! A huge fan of you and Charleston. We will be coming to Charleston in 2 weeks, our annual trip to attend the House and Garden tour and the Symphony Show House. We will stroll by your home and ooh and ahh like we always do! Sincerely, Patricia Malcolm, Plymouth, Michigan.

    • Thank you Patricia. As you know, it is a perfect time to visit – shout out if I’m out in the garden as you walk by! cr

  18. It all looks so wonderful and I know how much work goes into a fundraiser so well done to everyone involved – The Fellowes are such generous guests and I know you will have had an evening to remember! Loved it-Thank you for letting us have a peep!

  19. How absolutely gorgeous in every way, but then, that is you ! Congratulations !
    My only regret is that I was not there.

  20. Brava Carolyne! It must have been an enchanted evening. I only wish I were an invisible fly-on-the rose petal in your centerpiece. 😉 I’m hoping Mr.Fellowes will consider bringing some real ‘Southern Charm’ to our television screens.

  21. I visited Charleston with my Husband before he died. Downtown Abbey was a wonderful experience and the beauty of Carolyn Roheme’s life that she shares through her books is God’s Smile and Grace on us all. Thank you Carolyn for your sense of BEAUTY!!)

    • Dear Lois,
      Thank you for your kind words and linking me through my books to Downton Abby which was, for me as well, a wonderful watching experience for me as well. best carolyne

  22. Carolyne — Wonderful recounting of a special day/evening with the British visitors. Almost 50 years ago (Summer 1968) as “just-marrieds” my husband and I arrived in Charleston where he was assigned to a ship, his first duty station as a junior officer in the US Navy. We lived in a trailer on the Navy base while he got established. I went out the very first day and figured out how to get to the historic downtown. I ended up at the Nathaniel Russell House at 51 Meeting Street and found us a. an apartment (16 1/2 Rutledge Ave.) and b. a job for me, as Secretary to the Director of the Historic Charleston Foundation. I had worked as a secretary the previous year in NYC and commuted from my home in Scarsdale before our marriage. Anyway, my boss in Charleston was Frances Ravenel Edmunds. You’ve probably heard of her. She was IT nationally for Historic Preservation and Dick Jenrette was someone she identified and nurtured as a patron for these activities. I believe his first historic house purchase was the Roper House, c. 1970. Sadly the Navy moved us to San Diego and then Hawai’i. (Go Navy!) We did keep in touch with Frances. Her oldest daughter Harriott was my age. Glad to see that you are enjoying living in that very special place. What’s kind of neat is that the College of Charleston has become a nationwide institution. Lots of kids my kids knew from sailing in Lake Erie (we lived in CLE for 20 yrs) have attended the school, been on the sailing team. Some have even put down roots in Charleston. Keep us posted on your doings and pray that the University (South Carolina) beats Florida to get a spot in the Final Four (basketball);-)

    • Hi Andrea—what a fascinating story. I am sure you remember John Guerre’s and the play Six Degrees of Separation—that is how life has become for so many of us baby boomers –but now I think is is actually 2 degrees. All of the touch points,as I call them, where lives intermingle from the least obvious places. I find it so fascinating and somehow comforting. Ours have crossed in several ways in this enormous and yet small world. best cr
      funny I am not a big sports fan and seldom watch any sporting events except the opening moment of the olympics, but strangely enough last night I got caught up in the Kentucky N.C. game ( before 60 minutes) and was riveted . Because of that I know that S.C. will be playing Florida and my fingers are crossed for us.

  23. What a magical evening! Perfect setting, perfect guests and perfect flowers – as always. Just loved seeing everything as I am in the midst of planning a road trip to the south ending in Charleston. Would love any recommendations you have for restaurants, hotels, sites to see, including a walk by your lovely home! Our last trip to Charleston was so much fun and our tour guide had a line that I repeat often – “Every day is a good day that starts above ground!”

    • That Is funny and how right your guide is. -There are so many many restaurants in this small city and I have only discovered a few. There are the big culinary ones such as Husk, Fig and The Ordinary but there are also dozens of smaller or less fancy in terms of the food. Snob, Oak, Leon’s
      Little Jack’s and in Mount Pleasant ( over the bridge) called See Wee very old time coke bottles, linoleum table cloths paper napkins but the real deal in terms of southern cooking. As far as sites things have not changed much I suspect since you were last there but there is the new Galliard in town and you might want to check out the plantation gardens in the area to see what is blooming. Mt house well the garden is totally torn out as I lost 3,000 boxwoods from the killing salt in the ground as a result of hurricane Matthew so not looking good right now. Let me know when you are planning to come and I could be ,more specific. best cr

      • So sorry about your garden! Reminded me of your posts during the terrible flooding caused by the hurricane. We are planning our trip for mid October to see the lovely fall foliage that we miss in California. We will start outside DC at The Inn at Little Washington, go to Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, Blackberry Farm, Biltmore Estate and end in Charleston. Can’t wait!

        • Wow what a fabulous trip seeing the great beauty of east coast home of so much fascinating history! Let us know when you head to the low country, carolyne

  24. Dear Carolyne,

    Once again you have taken me away to another place of enchantment! Such a lovely, exquisite evening in your beautiful home. Thank you for enriching our day with your sharing of another momentous event!

  25. You are so generous to share your life and talents with so many. The picture and the
    Video was as though we shared your evening. What a pleasant face Julian Fellows has,
    and he seems like an easy person to know. You are such a creative person, but also do so
    much yourself. Charleston is a magic city, but even more magical because you are there.

    I am a book liover and so happy about that beautiful library preservation.

    You have some fine people in Charleston. June Emmert

    • June, what very kind words, thank you! I will have to say though that Charleston was very much magical prior to my arrival! cr

  26. Such an exquisite dinner party so well documented in your lovely video with the perfect music and iconic tree opening the event.

  27. Your flowers are always stunning! Love how you prepare your tables for an exquisite evening of entertaining.

    • Thank you Joy, selecting a table theme is one of my favorite parts of entertaining, cr

  28. Charleston never disappoints, does it. Surely Charleston and its sister city, Savannah, are the loveliest of ladies on the eastern seaboard.
    Your video was exquisite as your lovely home. And Sir Julian and his DAbbey will forever be a favorite of mine.
    Thank you for your appreciation of lovely tables, gracious manners and special Southern hospitality. And sharing it with so many through your blog.

    • Thank you very much….it is such a pleasure to share this with all my readers, and so glad you enjoyed this one – long live Southern hospitality and manners! cr

  29. Hi Carolyne….
    I have spoken with Julian this week and he was telling me what a fabulous time he had with you…
    I adore the picture of Emma with the dog at the table!!!!!
    The setting looked spectacular as always..

    • Hi Jonathan,
      They were great and what a wonderful speaker he is. I am going to send them one of my books. I hope all is well. Loved the shotes you sent would love to be doing another project but at this time I can barely take care of what I have. best carolyne

      • Dearest Carolyne…
        So lovely to hear back from you. We are always here when you need us again….

  30. A step back in time when every dinner party had the same elegances. I grew up reading Vogue, etc. and I used those ladies as my guides on a much smaller scale when I first started to have people over. Then they were gone, and life changed, and I stopped even offering a cup of tea. You have brought me back , and the fact you get your fruit and flowers from your local grocery stores, and shop in places where you can get something great for $14.00 makes it seem even more reachable. A friend stopped over recently, and I did offer her tea, but she only wanted a cup of hot water, but I washed a china cup and saucer while the water boiled, and I felt I had made a little step back ,because of you. Thank you.

    • Dear Lillie, reading this has made my day…..to think that I can help inspire you to find beauty in the everyday is so rewarding for me. Even the smallest effort can make such a difference – keep it up! cr

  31. Dear Carolyne,

    How wonderful!!!!! I love the photo of Baby Monkey with Lady fellows. I want to come back as a dog and belong to you. They have all the fun. Love the video too. Just beautiful. Thank you once again for making my day.

    Best, Kevin and the spirit of my little Nickie

    • You are right Kevin, my dogs do have a wonderful life, but they also give so much back to me, as I’m sure your Nickie did, cr

  32. Dear Carolyne, thank you so much for all the joy you bring to our lives and every single one of my senses! Your video was a masterpiece and I didn’t want it to end…. I really felt transported and wanted so bad to be a guest! Exquisite! Everything was perfect, your flowers and tables are always so inspirational that make us want to lead a more charming and enchanted life. Could you be my best friend, please?
    Thank you!

    • Oh thank you Maria Teresa, both for your kind feedback, and interest in the blog, where I am grateful for so many ‘digital’ friends! cr

  33. Oh my goodness, that video,is so lovely. Thankyou so much Carolyne for sharing such exquisite beauty with us. The music was just perfect. What an honour to host the legendary Julian Fellowes in your home.

    • Thanks Victoria for liking the video I have a lot to learn in that area but it is interesting but tedious in the time it took me to do it so thanks for appreciating my effort. cr

  34. Carolyne, what a wonderful celebration of Charleston and Julian Fellowes. Thanks for sharing what must have been an incredible visit. We should all be so lucky to dine with the creator of Downton Abbey. The video is inspirational and so well done.

  35. Carolyne-
    Your wonderful post was sent to me by a friend, Barbara, who along with me and 14 other women are headed to Charleston in about 3 weeks. We are all part of an investment group that has been together for 25 years and our friendships have become so strong and that is coupled with a commitment to always have a wonderful time together in whatever we do and wherever we go . We are planning a special dinner in Charleston to celebrate our trip, our friendships and our 25th anniversary and you have offered us so much inspiration- I want to get on the plane this afternoon! Barbara , the gal that sent this to me (and will be arranging the dinner) is always inspired by your design and creativity and she too has an amazing eye and artful way. We are even more excited now to have this wonderful experience ahead of us- Thank you so much for sharing it all- Dolly

    • Hi Dolly,

      What fun you have in store! Long time friends with mutuel interests are the best companions for travel.Lucky you. I just arrived in Charleston —let me know the dates of your trip here– maybe our paths will cross.. best cr

  36. We are arriving in Charleston April 23rd and will be there until the 27th when we head to Savannah for another few days before we head back to California on April 30th . Our special dinner is April 26th in a private room at the Charleston Grill. We have a great gal (tour guide) Rhetta Mendelsohn, who is helping us tour the city and experience as much as we can the history, art, architecture, war, flowers, religion and politics of the area. We will see houses and gardens, churches and public buildings, parks , monuments and waterways. We are beyond excited !

  37. Exquisite, every detail!
    I really enjoy your post. When I entertain, I imagine my table settings will look just like yours. Mine, however, somehow always fall short. You inspire me and I love that you share your talents. Thank you

  38. So lovely, interesting and beautiful. My favorite photo is of the Angel Oak, a lovely place for an afternoon tea. Charleston is high on my list of places I desire to visit. Thank you for a small peak.

  39. Durning the many years that I lived i in Charleston the Library Society was the coolest ,most enchanting retreat during a scorching day of King Street antiquing. It is a real treasure . I miss it.

    • It is very special and listening to music there one really feels part of another time. cr

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