According to editors of Shooting Times, the 1920s guns featured on the Christmas show were more 1890s and only loaders wore leather gaiters.
The PBS TV series -- which won six 2011 Emmys, including one for Best Costumes -- has been pestered by homeland criticism of historical errors, including a visible TV antenna and double yellow lines on a road. Not to mention to use of anachronistic modern phrases such as "boyfriend", "get knotted," and "get shafted".
Now the series -- just nominated for four 2012 Golden Globes -- is under fire for a game shoot that takes place in the Christmas special. The former editor of Shooting times, Tony Jackson
, wrote a letter to the Telegraph
to put forth his criticism.
"The episode is set in 1919–20, but the guns are dressed in the garb of the 1890s. "No driven game shot in the Twenties would have been seen wearing leather gaiters. All would have worn plus fours, stockings, leather boots and, possibly, light–coloured spats.This was even the dress in the early 1900s. Only loaders wore gaiters."
Jackson also noted that outfit worn by the character Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) made him look "more like a bride groom rather than a shooting man on a formal shoot."
And you thought our U.S. Fashion Police critiques were harsh. The current editor of Shooting Times, Alastair Balmain, also bashed the use of dogs in the scene. Especially the Labrador which he maintains would have been "highly unlikely to feature prominently on the shooting field until a few years later."
The Abbey makers have denied the errors. Even the Oscar-winning creator of the show Julian Fellowes has dissed the nit-pickers. "The real problem is with people who are insecure socially, and they think to show how smart they are by picking holes in the program to promote their own poshness and to show that their knowledge is greater than your knowledge,"
An Abbey spokesman also takes humbrage at the slight: "Our costume designers put in hours and hours of research and there are images from the time of Edwardian men wearing leather gaiters on a gam."
Leather gaiters? Loaders? Plus fours? A gam? We're out of our depth here, having ever been on a formal shoot nor having scrupulously poured over faded photos of 1920's British hunting shoot photos.
But the TV antenna and the yellow traffic lines are pretty funny. We love the show already but will now start watching more closely for these amusing little historical inaccuracies.
If you happen to spot another TV antenna, please do inform us promptly.