This map plots the settings and references in Brideshead Revisited
To start exploring, click a red pin
The first part of Brideshead Revisited is set in Oxford, the English university town where Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder meet. There are many references to Oxford landmarks, such as churches and pubs, and also to various Oxford University colleges, including Merton, Balliol and, most notably, Christ Church, where Sebastian Flyte and Anthony Blanche have rooms.
Although Charles Ryder's college is not named, it is believed to be based on Waugh's own Hertford College.
According to a letter from Sebastian to Charles, Brideshead Castle (the seat of the Flyte family) is in the county of Wiltshire, in southwest England.
There are no further references to Wiltshire in the novel, nor any evidence that Evelyn Waugh based his portrait of Brideshead Castle on any particular house in that county.
It has been suggested, in fact, that Brideshead was based on two different houses: Madresfield Court in Worcestershire (the chapel of which is almost certainly the model for the chapel at Brideshead) and Castle Howard in North Yorkshire.
Madresfield Court was the family home of the Lygon family, who were close friends of Waugh. Hugh Lygon, the younger son, was a contemporary of Waugh's at Oxford, and is said to be a model for Sebastian.
Charles and Sebastian visit Lord Marchmain in Venice, a city in northern Italy, famous for its canals. It is situated in the Venetian Lagoon and spreads over 117 small islands.
There are passing references to various places in the capital including Bayswater, where Charles Ryder has his home, and the East End, the scene of the scuffle between the special constables and the strikers during the 1926 General Strike. However, most of the London scenes occur in the more upper-crust areas: Mayfair, Belgravia, St. James's and Green Park, where Marchmain House and the Ritz Hotel are situated.
Fez is the third-largest city in Morocco. It consists of three distinct areas: the old walled city; the Mellah (the old Jewish quarter); and the Ville Nouvelle (the modern, French-created quarter).
One of the best known transatlantic liners was the Queen Mary, which belonged to the Cunard-White Star line. She made her maiden voyage in 1936, so may have been the ship that Evelyn Waugh had in mind for Charles and Celia's Atlantic crossing.
The Isis is the name given to the River Thames as it flows through Oxford, above Iffley Lock;
The River Cherwell, which rises in the Midlands, is a tributary of the Thames and joins the larger river at Oxford (as marked on the map).
Both produce sweet wines of the Sauternes appellation. Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey was already established as a top-quality wine by 1855, whilst production of the equally admired Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey began after 1879, when a family quarrel led to the original business splitting into two branches.
Either of these wines could, therefore, have been available to Sebastian Flyte in 1920s Oxford.
The Meadow Building is that part of Christ Church College which overlooks Christ Church Meadow.
Interestingly, in view of Sebastian's aristocratic pedigree, it was not considered a fashionable part of the college in which to be accommodated.
Ravenna is a city in northeast Italy, not far from the Adriatic coast.
During its chequered history, it has come under the control of many different factions. It was the seat of the Byzantine government in Italy during the 6th Century.
It is also the site of 8 early Christian monuments which have been designated as World Heritage Sites.
Douro is a region of Portugal which is famous for the production of Port wine.
Port is a fortified wine (one to which a spirit has been added) which has been made in the region since the late 17th Century. The fortification agent used is a grape spirit known as aguardente, usually referred to in English as 'brandy'.
The original purpose of the brandy was to prolong the life of the wine and preserve it during travelling. Traditionally, port is made with 4 parts wine to 1 part brandy.
Douro region of Portugal:
Capri is an island off the coast of Italy in the Gulf of Naples.
From the early nineteenth century onward, Capri became a popular haunt for poets, writers and artists, as well as other affluent and well-known visitors.
During the early years of the twentieth century, the Russian author Maxim Gorky spent some time there, as did Norman Douglas, the author of the novel South Wind. In fact, the island setting in that novel is a lightly fictionalised version of Capri.
In the early part of the 20th Century, Capri had an unusually tolerant attitude to homosexuality and was popular amongst gay men and women, an aspect of island life satirised by the novelist Compton Mackenzie in two novels: Vestal Fire (1927) and Extraordinary Women (1928).
In the 1950s, Capri became even more fashionable as a celebrity retreat, and it remains popular today.
Listen on Spotify: Isle of Capri
Location of Cefalù:
The Lido is also the location of the Venice Film Festival which takes place annually in late August or early September.
As would have been normal for aristocracy of the period, the Flyte family have a home in the country (Brideshead Castle) and a home in London (Marchmain House).
St. James's is a smart area of central London. It holds several royal residences, including St. James's Palace and Clarence House. There are also many upmarket commercial enterprises in the area, such as auction houses, art galleries and wine merchants, as well as a concentration of gentlemen's clubs.
Jermyn Street in London is best known for its many gentlemen's outfitters, particularly its shirt-makers.
Although there is little hard evidence that Jermyn Street was a centre of money lending, it is possible to find several incidental references:
In Chapter 4 of E.W. Hornung's novel Mr. Justice Raffles, there is a reference to Raffles and his sidekick Bunny Manders going together to the jaws of Jermyn Street to visit the moneylender Mr Dan Levy;
Chapter 8 of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde includes the following reference to money lenders in Jermyn Street:
... there were several very courteously worded communications from Jermyn Street money-lenders offering to advance any sum of money at a moment's notice and at the most reasonable rates of interest;
In a list of businesses of the City of Westminster to be found on the borough's website, it is noted that a money lender delightfully called Victor Honour was in business in Jermyn Street between 1875 and 1925.
(A note of hand is a written promise to repay a debt)
Pompeii was a Roman city situated close to present-day Naples in Italy.
In 79 AD, the city was completely buried, following the eruption of the Mount Vesuvius volcano.
It was rediscovered in 1592, and excavation work was carried out from the mid-18th Century onwards.
The murals uncovered at the site were classified into four categories, each of which was painted at different periods in the history of the city.
The second category, for example, contains paintings of the trompe-l'oeil type (giving the impression of three dimensions), whilst the fourth category is characterised by dramatic narrative scenes and panoramic vistas.
The Brenta Canal is a waterway connecting Padua (Padova) to the sea just south of the Venetian lagoon.
Although called a canal, it is in fact part of the River Brenta which was diverted so that it would not silt up the Venetian Lagoon.
From the 15th Century onwards, wealthy Venetians buit villas along its banks.
Strictly speaking, scampi are Norway lobsters (Nephrops norvegicus), but the term is also used in Italy and elsewhere to refer to similar species. Norway lobsters are also known as Dublin Bay Prawns and as langoustines.
Chioggia is a small town, situated about 12 miles south of Venice, on an island in the Venetian Lagoon.
The Cadena Cafés were a national chain of cafés serving coffee and light meals which were taken over by Tesco in the early 1960s.
The Oxford branch of the Cadena was situated on Cornmarket Street.
St. Clement's is an area of Oxford on the east bank of the River Cherwell.
St. Ebbe's is an area of central Oxford which underwent substantial redevelopment in the latter part of the 20th Century. It is now the location of the Westgate shopping centre.
Sink Street does not exist, but Mrs. Meyrick's night-club at 43 Gerrard Street, Soho was not far from Leicester Square. It is now a thriving part of London's Chinatown.
Bow Street Magistrates' Court has existed at various sites on Bow Street in Central London since 1740.
The most recent site of the Magistrates' Court, and the building in which Sebastian's case would have been heard, ceased functioning as a courtroom in 2006.
Various famous defendants, including Oscar Wilde, have appeared at Bow Street prior to pleading their cases before higher courts.
Gunter's at 7-8 Berkeley Square began life as a confectionary shop in 1757, trading under the name of The Pot and Pine Apple.
During the 19th and 20th centuries it functioned as a tea-shop, serving light meals and specialising in ices and sorbets. It is still in existence today.
Berkeley Square is a highly desirable residential area in Mayfair, London.
Holywell is the name of one of the parishes of Oxford.
Holywell Street is a road in central Oxford next to Hertford College which Evelyn Waugh attended in the 1920s. It is generally assumed that Hertford is also Charles Ryder's college.
The Parks are the University Parks which are situated mainly on the west bank of the River Cherwell.
Here, Mesopotamia is not the region between the Tigris and the Euphrates, but a narrow island in the University Parks. Prior to 1926, a ferry operated from the island, but it has now been replaced by a footbridge.
North Oxford is a desirable residential area and the site of several private schools.
Map showing Holywell Street (bottom) and the University Parks (top):
A caravan is a group of travellers journeying together, usually with horses or camels. The word is most commonly associated with the Middle East and North Africa.
Aleppo in Northern Syria is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. The mid 1920s was a politically turbulent time in the history of the city and surrounding areas.
Pontus, or Pontos, was the Greek name for an area on the southern coast of the Black Sea, situated in what is now Turkey.
The ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus are located in present-day Turkey. At different points in its history, the city came under the control of both the Greeks and the Romans. It is the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, namely the Temple of Artemis (Diana) which was built around 550 BC and destroyed in 401AD.
Prior to 1930, Constantinople was the name of the Turkish city of Istanbul.
It was founded by the Roman emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, and became the capital of both the Roman and the Ottoman empires.
The Île Saint-Louis is an island on the River Seine in Paris. It is connected to the rest of the city by bridges.
It is a mainly residential area with no métro station and only two bus stops, a peaceful haven amidst the bustle of the city.
Mayfair (top) and Belgravia (bottom, between Sloane Street and Grosvenor Place):
Since the middle of the nineteenth century, the area has been a magnet for the rich and famous.
Pont Street runs between the highly fashionable areas of Knightsbridge and Belgravia.
What exactly Julia Flyte and her friends have against Pont Street or its residents is not clear. Certainly, the examples given of what is Pont Street (wearing a signet ring; giving chocolates at the theatre; saying, 'Can I forage for you?' at a dance) do not have an immediate significance for the uninitiated.
Can anyone explain?
Nancy Mitford also used the term in her novel Love in a Cold Climate where the heroine's aunt is described as someone who tries to keep her nose firmly to Pont Street.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, is to be found at 114 Mount Street in London's Mayfair (it can also be entered from Farm Street).
A Jesuit church founded in 1849, Farm Street did not become a parish church until 1966. But from its inception it earned a reputation as an important centre of Catholic life in London, especially for those seeking spiritual advice, guidance or instruction.
It was at Farm Street that Evelyn Waugh was received into the Catholic Church in September 1930.
S.A. Cartier is a French jewellery and watch-making business, established in Paris in 1847. By the early years of the 20th Century, branches of Cartier's had opened in London, New York and St. Petersburg.
Today, Cartier's can be found on Bond Street and Sloane Street in London. They sell a range of jewellery, watches, perfume and leather goods.
Hatton Garden is the name of both a street and an area in Holborn, London. It is the centre of the London jewellery trade, being the location of almost 300 jewellery-related businesses, and more than 55 jewellers' shops. Though they deal in very expensive stones, they lack the glamour of the branded jewellers of Mayfair and Knightsbridge.
Regent's Park is both a royal park and a residential area in London, situated partly in the City of Westminster and partly in the borough of Camden.
As the road travels eastwards, it becomes the East India Dock Road, leading to what were once known as the East India Docks.
Commercial passenger air travel developed in the wake of the First World War but was still in its infancy in the 1920s.
Although Evelyn Waugh has Charles Ryder travelling to Casablanca with Air France, this would not have been possible in 1926 as the company was not formed until 1933, through the merger of five smaller companies. It is possible, however, that such a service could have been provided by one of the precursor companies which included Air Union and Société Générale de Transport Aérien (SGTA).
Casablanca is a city located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco in North Africa.
Their work in London includes Portland Place in Marylebone, Fitzroy Square in Fitzrovia, and Kenwood House in Hampstead.
Green Park is a Royal Park in London which lies between Hyde Park and St. James Park:
The Tate Gallery (originally the National Gallery of British Art) was an art gallery founded in 1897, and situated on London's Millbank.
Tring Park Mansion is a country house in Tring in Hertfordshire. It was purchased by Baron Lionel de Rothschild in 1872, and in 1889 its grounds became the site of the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum. The private museum was a 21st birthday present to Baron de Rothschild's grandson Walter who had a passion for Zoology.
Today, the mansion is home to The Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, and parts of the surrounding parkland are open to the public, and managed by the Woodland Trust.
Pantelleria is an Italian Island in the Mediterranean Sea, situated between Sicily and the Tunisian Coast.
The island held strategically important Italian radar installations and an airfield. It was finally captured in 1943, ahead of the Allied invasion of Sicily, in Operation Corkscrew.
The Suez Canal in Egypt, an artificial waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, is an important maritime link between Europe and Asia.
It was under British control until 1956 when the series of events known as the Suez Crisis led to its being put under the control of a United Nations peacekeeping force.
During the Abyssinia Crisis, closing the Suez Canal would have made it more difficult for Italian troops to reach Ethiopia.
Carthage was an ancient city-state situated on the Gulf of Tunis in North Africa; it was established in the 9th Century BC.
One of its most famous sons is Hannibal, a Carthaginian military leader who famously marched an army of men and elephants across the Alps to invade Italy.
Today, what little remains of the ancient city is located in one of the suburbs of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.