I first visited Lynton and Lynmouth, twin villages in North Devon, when I was working on Lady Maybe, a book that required a cliff-side setting. I traveled there with an old friend and we fell in love with the dramatic coastal landscape within Exmoor National Park—also the setting of the novel Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore. We enjoyed the scenic harbor town of Lynmouth and stayed in the wonderful Castle Hill Guest House in Lynton, perched on the hill above. We hiked out to the majestic Valley of Rocks and Castle Rock on a narrow path overlooking sun-streaked water far below. While there, we learned that the area was a favorite among poets and artists in the nineteenth century (and probably to this day), and I knew I had found the perfect place to set the opening scenes of The Painter’s Daughter.
The second setting of the book is fictional “Overtree Hall,” which I based loosely on stately Chastleton House (with its secret room) in Oxfordshire. I also “borrowed” the stone-mask-squints we saw at Great Chalfield Manor in Wiltshire.
More Photos of Lynton and Lynmouth
Additional Photos from Research for The Painter’s Daughter