I happened to see a most interesting documentary on BBC4 on 3rd June entitled ‘Britain’s Lost Masterpieces’. It was about paintings in the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont which may or may not have been the work of an artist in Flanders Bruegel The Younger, who produced many accurate copies of his father’s paintings, though he was never taught by his father who died when he was five years old.

One such painting by the father in 1559 is entitled Netherlandish Proverbs or Flemish Proverbs. It depicts various proverbs.  Wikipedia lists 126 proverbs. Many are familiar to us today. For example, to bang one’s head against a brick wall, to be armed to the teeth, to sit between two stools [in the ashes], it depends on the fall of the cards, the world is turned upside down, and so on.

As an author, I spend many hours trying to find out if this or that saying was in use in the late eighteenth century which is the period in which my Elizabeth Bennet Series is presently set (though it won’t be long now before I progress to the nineteenth century).

I wonder if Pieter Bruegel’s painting means that I can rely on it that these proverbs were already around in the Georgian period.